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Publishing Your Research: Open Access

You have done your research. You have data to share, or you wrote an what?

What is Open Access (OA)?


What is Open Access

Open access (OA) is a publishing term that refers to data, scientific findings, research articles and other primary literature that are available for free and little to no restrictions related to licensing and copyright.  

Kalso, R. (2019). Open access (OA). Salem Press Encyclopedia of Science. Retrieved from 

Books About Open Access (OA)

How Open Is It?

Approaches to Open Access


Open Access models:

Delayed Open Access 

Free articles offered after a specified time period.  This time period can be anywhere from months to years. Delayed access helps preserve the subscription base for the publisher.


Short-term Open Access:

Access is provided to articles for a short period after publication.  After the specified period is over, articles are only available to subscribers.


Selected Open Access:

Selected articles are available freely while others require a subscription in order to be accessed. 


Hybrid Open Access:

The author is given the option to pay a publication charge to make their article Open Access immediately upon publication.  Access to articles by authors who choose not to pay require a subscription.


Partial Open Access

The journal offers access to their primary research articles for free, but access to value added content such as review articles or editorials requires a subscription.


Total Open Access 

The articles in the journal are completely unrestricted and accessible. Article processing fees are required to cover the costs of peer review and online publication and are plaid by the author or the author's institution, or by the author's research grant.  Many open access journals offer institutional memberships whereby article processing fees can be either reduced or waived based on membership level.

Adapted from the University of Minnesota's "Approaches to open access", which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License)

What's a Creative Commons License?

Many OERs use Creative Commons Licenses to communicate just how "open" the resource is.

Copyright law grants, by default, "all rights reserved" to authors (or other copyright holders) to protect their claim to a work and profits generated from it.

Creative Commons is a popular way for copyright holders to modify these rights to allow others to reuse, modify, distribute, or even profit from their works without asking permission.  The works are still copyrighted and must be cited when used as an information source in a research paper, but the author has opted to allow others to use the work within selected restrictions.  

The particular combination of restrictions is selected by the copyright holder and is usually represented in code and/or image.  For example, 


This license specifies that you may modify, distribute, and reuse the work as long as you give attribution (credit) to the original author and you use the work non-commercially.

Learn More


Creative Commons License Categories

The following is taken from the Creative Commons website:

Also try their License Chooser tool!


The Licenses


This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. This is the most accommodating of licenses offered. Recommended for maximum dissemination and use of licensed materials.

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This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms. This license is often compared to “copyleft” free and open source software licenses. All new works based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also allow commercial use. This is the license used by Wikipedia, and is recommended for materials that would benefit from incorporating content from Wikipedia and similarly licensed projects.

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This license allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to you.

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This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, and although their new works must also acknowledge you and be non-commercial, they don’t have to license their derivative works on the same terms.

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This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms.

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This license is the most restrictive of our six main licenses, only allowing others to download your works and share them with others as long as they credit you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially.

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We also provide tools that work in the “all rights granted” space of the public domain. Our CC0 tool allows licensors to waive all rights and place a work in the public domain, and our Public Domain Mark allows any web user to “mark” a work as being in the public domain.