Open Access publications are free to read on the open internet. Readers can download, copy, and distribute an open access publication, as long as credit is given to the authors. Readers do not require a subscription or any other form of payment, either personally or through their university or library, to access the content. Open access differs from Open Source, a descriptor often used for software with open code, free to download, use and modify.
The two main types of open access are Green Open Access and Gold Open Access.
Green Open Access involves self-archiving your work in an open access repository, such as KORA
Gold Open Access involves publishing in an open access journal. There are plenty of high-quality, peer-reviewed open access journals to choose from.
There are several benefits to both Green and Gold Open Access, including:
a) Open access journals
Scholarly open access journals are subject to the same rigorous peer review that subscription based academic journals are, and many have high impact factors. However, they use different funding models when compared to traditional subscription journals.
See How do I assess a publisher, journal, or conference? for help with choosing a high-quality open access journal for your publication.
This method of publishing is sometimes known as Gold Open Access. The entire journal is free to read immediately and completely at time of publication.
The Directory of Open Access Journals provides information about thousands of peer reviewed Open Access journals.
NOTE: Some traditional publishers will allow authors to pay an additional fee to "unlock" an article and make it freely available. For example, see APS Free to Read and Springer Open Choice. Although the article is free to read, licensing and copyright restrictions may still apply.
b) Subscription journals
Many journals will allow you to retain your copyright on your manuscript so you can share it freely in an open access repository or elsewhere such as your department website. This is known as Green Open Access, or self-archiving.
See Know your rights as an author for information on locating and negotiating archiving permissions to reproduce, reuse and publicly present your work for non-commercial purposes.
See Finding a repository for information about your options for self-archiving your work.
Many university presses and other publishers produce quality, peer-reviewed open access books and monographs.
In order to ensure you are selecting a reputable publisher for your open access book or monograph, follow the same steps as you would to assess a journal. See How do I assess a publisher, journal, or conference? for details on the steps to take and what to look for.
Some publishers are beginning open access programs to share books more widely. Check with your publisher to see if they offer any open access options.
If you plan to deposit your book or book chapter in an open access repository, check with your publisher for any copyright limitations. You can also include an addendum with your publisher agreement to retain your right to deposit your work.
Browse the resources below to locate Open Access publishers for books and monographs.