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From why you should publish to picking a journal and all the steps in between, this guide will help you publish a manuscript.

What is Open Access?

What does "open access" mean?

Most often, "open access" refers to journal articles, textbooks, or class content that anyone can access from anywhere. In other words, it isn't kept behind a paywall, anyone can download it for free.

  • Open access journals are often funded by fees charged to authors. This is because open access journals do not follow the traditional funding model, where subscribers (like universities) pay to access journal articles:

“The largest open access publishers, BioMed Central and PLoS, charge $1,350-2,250 per article in most cases”. However, UND is a supporter of BioMed Central, and so UND faculty receive a 15% discount (ask your librarian about this discount).

  • Open access publication is beginning to become an accepted way to fulfill the requirements of promotion and tenure. See this CFL page for information on the "UND OA Statement of Support", proposed and passed by the University Senate Library Committee in May 2018, and passed by Senate Executive on 9/19/18.

  • Open access journals vary in quality (just like traditional journals): some are reputable, some are insufficiently rigorous, and some are deceptive.(see checklist on previous tab). 

What "open access" doesn't mean:

  • Being open access doesn't mean a resource isn't copyrighted.

example: A journal can take an article for which it retains the copyright and make it open access if they don't charge people for downloading it.

  • Being open access doesn't mean a resource has a creative commons license, rather than a traditional copyright license (though it is likely).

  • Being open access doesn't mean a resource is of poor quality (see checklist below)


1. Van Noorden, Richard. (March 27 2013). “Open Access: The true cost of science publishing.” Nature.

2. Berger, Monica. (March 22-25 2017).  “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Predatory Publishing but were Afraid to Ask.” ACRL 2017: At the Helm: Leading Transformation.

Different Ways a Publication Can Be Open Access

  • Hybrid Journals

    • Some journals which usually place their articles behind paywalls will allow an author to pay "author publication charges" to make their article open access to readers, liberating it from the usual paywall.
      • "Author Publication Charges" are also sometimes called "article processing charges", and vary among journals, costing anywhere from $200 to $5,000. Information on these charges can be found on journal websites' info for authors sections.
  • Open access journals

    • Publish in an open-access journal that does not charge author publication charges.
      • 60% of the journals in The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) do not charge an author publication charge.
    • Publish in an open-access journal that funds its publication using author publication charges
  • Institutional repositories

    • Deposit your work in UND's institutional repository, the Scholarly Commons, which is openly available to anyone globally.
      • Even if you're publishing your article in a paywalled journal, you may also be able to deposit your pre-print in an institutional repository. Check Sherpa Romeo to see if your journal has a policy about pre-print publication.

Three types of Open Access publishing options:

  • Gold Open Access: may involve an "Article Processing Fee" (also known as an "Author Processing Fee"). The article is then available from a publisher's platform.
  • Green Open Access: the full text of the manuscript is deposited in a publicly accessible database, most often managed by a research organization. This version is associated with being able to put on a personal blog or social media profile.
  • Diamond Open Access: funded through channels such as libraries or professional societies.