This is the "Home" page of the "Open Access" guide.
Alternate Page for Screenreader Users
Skip to Page Navigation
Skip to Page Content

The purpose of this guide is to provide resources and information to the UMass Medical School community about open access and new models of scholarly publishing.
Last Updated: Apr 14, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

Home Print Page

What Is Open Access?

"Open access" is free, unrestricted, online access to scientific and scholarly research.  There are two primary vehicles for providing open access: open access journals, and open access archives or repositories, such as eScholarship@UMMS. 

The purpose of this guide is to provide resources and information to the UMass Medical School community about open access and new models of scholarly publishing.

Read A Very Brief Introduction to Open Access, by open access advocate Peter Suber.


PhD Comics Explains Open Access

8-minute animated video explaining open access and why it's important, from PhD Comics


Facts and Figures (as of September 30, 2014)

Facts & Figures

(Inspired by Heather Morrison's Dramatic Growth of Open Access Series)

DOAJ: Directory of Open Access Journals

  • Over 10,000 journals from 135 countries
  • More than 1.7 million articles are now searchable in DOAJ

DOAB: Directory of Open Access Books

  • Over 2,200 academic peer-reviewed open access books from 70 publishers

OpenDOAR, the Directory of Open Access Repositories

  • 2700 academic open access research repositories

PubMed Central (PMC)

  • 3.2 million free full-text biomedical and life sciences articles are archived in PubMed Central

Public Library of Science (PLOS)

  •  53 Nobel laureates as authors, through 2013 (more stats available in their 2014 progress update)

BioMed Central

  • UMMS authors have published 300 articles in BioMed Central journals

Internet Archive 

  • 430 billion web pages, 1.7 million videos, 133,000 concerts, 2 million audio recordings, 6.5 million texts

Wikimedia Commons

  • Over 23 million freely usable media files

NIH Public Access Update

NIH logo

NIH Steps Up Enforcement of Public Access Policy

On November 16, 2012, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced that it is tightening enforcement of its policy requiring that investigators deposit copies of their papers in a public archive. Starting as soon as next spring, researchers who haven't complied will not receive the next installment of their grant.  Read more:

Read ScienceInsider article

Read NIH formal policy announcement

Library guide about the NIH Public Access Policy


Why Open Access?

Video: How Open Access Empowered a 16-Year-Old to Make Cancer Breakthrough ... An interview on Open Access to research journals with Dr. Francis S. Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health, and Jack Andraka, the 16-year-old inventor of a breakthrough cancer diagnostic and winner of the 2012 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

  • More knowledge leads to better patient outcomes. Opening access to research will allow all doctors access to relevant information for decision making, leading to more effective treatments and better outcomes.  Access to medical research is also crucial for patients and patient advocates.
  • Improved education.  Faculty and students will not be limited by the selection of scholarly journals their campus libraries are able to provide.

"A Story to Tell": Read this short piece that tells the true story of a physician's efforts to nationally distribute an operating room checklist that could potentially save thousands of lives - complicated by the fact that the authors had signed over their copyrights to a publisher.

"Why I Don’t Care About Open Access to Research—and Why You Should": systems biologist explains why researchers should care about open access in light of the changes taking place in science publishing. (Pacific Standard, January 31, 2014)


In the News

Knowledge is Power: Sharing Information Can Accelerate Global Health Impact

(Gates Foundation, November 20, 2014)  The Gates Foundation is adopting an open access policy for published research funded by the foundation.

Gates Foundation announces world’s strongest policy on open access research

(Nature News blog, November 21, 2014)  The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced the world’s strongest policy in support of open research and open data. If strictly enforced, it would prevent Gates-funded researchers from publishing in well-known journals such as Nature and Science.

Open Access Website Gets Tough

(Nature News, August 6, 2014)  The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) has tightened its listing criteria to weed out rogue or "predatory" journals.


Thanks for Helping Us Celebrate Open Access Week!

Open Access Information Table

Monday - Friday, October 20-24, 2014

Lamar Soutter Library

Open Access Week Kick-Off Webcast: “Generation Open”, hosted by SPARC

Monday, October 20, 2014

3 p.m.

Lamar Soutter Library Classroom

2014 InteropIT Conference & Expo - Open Access Exhibit Table

Friday, October 24, 2014

10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Medical School Lobby and Faculty Conference Room

All events are free and open to the entire UMMS/UMMHC community.


Students and Open Access

The Right to Research Coalition (R2RC), a student organization formed in 2009 with nearly 7 million members, has published a student guide to open access publishing: “Optimize Your Publishing, Maximize Your Impact.”  This resource presents students with the ways in which they can make their research openly available for the widest possible readership and lays out the benefits of doing so – both as authors and as readers. This is a great resource for student authors.

Also check out Three Things Students Can Do Now to Promote Open Access from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.


Dr. Hong Yu on Open Access


Now on Twitter



"Green" Open Access:  Depositing your publication in an open access repository, such as eScholarship@UMMS ("self-archiving")

"Gold" Open Access:  Publishing in open access journals

"Hybrid" Open Access:  An option now offered by many traditional publishers where an author can pay a publication fee to make an article open access. 

Embargo:  A fixed delay between the time a publication or data is deposited into a repository and the time it is made public

Version Terminology:  Here are generally accepted definitions for a journal article in its various versions as it moves through the publication process:

  • Pre-print: Version first submitted to publisher, before peer review
  • Post-print:  Final version after peer review, AKA "accepted manuscript".  This is the version mandated in the NIH public access policy and in most institutional open access mandates.
  • Publisher's version/PDF:  Copyedited version with publisher's formatting and paging

Copyright and NIH Public Access Policy Support

Please refer to our other guides for specific information about:


Loading  Loading...