Answered By: Kelsey Hensler
Last Updated: Mar 28, 2024     Views: 28

Open access (OA) is a publishing model that makes articles freely available to readers. Most major publishers offer an open access option for authors. 

OA journals require authors to pay an upfront fee to make the article publicly available to readers.Learn more about the benefits of open access from SPARC.

There are two main open access licenses that authors can choose from:

  • Gold Open Access requires authors to pay an article processing fee which makes the article free and immediately available to readers upon publication.

  • Green Open Access is an agreement between the author and publisher which allows authors to make their article publicly available through PubMed Central or an institutional repository after an embargo period.

How will I pay for the OA fee?

  • Authors cover this fee through grant funding or departmental funds. The purpose of the fee is to cover the charges incurred when editing and formatting your paper.

Is paying an OA fee to a journal bad?

  • No. However, there are a handful of questionable or predatory journals that will ask authors for a fee, but not provide editing or peer review services. Even though they will usually follow through with “publishing” your paper on their website, these papers will rarely end up in major databases like PubMed. This can damage the author’s reputation and affect their promotion and tenure process. When in doubt, ask a librarian.

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