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Open Access

The purpose of this guide is to provide resources and information to the UMass Chan Medical School community about open access (OA) scholarly publishing.

What Is open access?

Open access (OA) is free, unrestricted, online access to scientific and scholarly research.  Open access matters because it reduces barriers to reading, discovery and sharing of knowledge.

A star with 8 points showing the advantages of open access: increased exposure for your work, increased citations, compliant with grant terms, practitioners can apply research, can influence policy, taxpayers don't pay twice, developing countries can access, and accessible to the public.


Benefits of Open Access by Danny Kingsley & Sarah Brown, CC BY 4.0

How to make your own work open access

1. Publish in open access journals.  The Library has negotiated several agreements that waive or reduce open access publication charges for UMass Chan corresponding authors. See also the Evaluating Open Access Journals page of this guide.

2. Retain author rights when you publish a new work

3. Deposit your publication in an open access repository. This process is called "self-archiving." Deposit your new works as you finish them. Deposit your older works retroactively. Follow these steps:

  • Check the journal's copyright policy for self-archiving (use Sherpa Romeo or search for information on the journal's website)
  • Identify an appropriate repository available to you, such as eScholarship@UMassChan or a repository in your discipline
  • Deposit your work (or have someone deposit it for you)
  • Consult one of the librarians listed on this page for assistance with all these steps

4. Share your de-identified research data in an open data repository.

Want to know more?  See Peter Suber's post "How to Make Your Own Work Open Access" for the Harvard Open Access Project.

This infographic sums up how researchers can make their work publicly available, free and legally. (download the PDF version)

A flowchart depicting how to make your research open access for free and legally. If you know a free open access journal or have funding for open access, publish via the "gold" route. Publish your preprint or postprint if you can - check Sherpa Romeo for journal policies. If you can't do any of those things, choose a different journal.

How to make your research open access? For free and legally by Lisa Matthias & Jon Tennant, CC BY 4.0


Article Publication Charge (APC): A fee charged by a publisher to make a paper openly available at the time of publication.

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

Embargoed open access: Some  publishers make their content openly available after a limited embargo period. In this model, new content is only available to subscribers, while older content is openly accessible. There are no APCs for embargoed content.  

Green Open Access:  Depositing a scholarly publication for public access in a repository other than that of the publisher, e.g. an institutional repository such as eScholarship@UMassChan, a general purpose repository, or a discipline-related repository. Also called "self-archiving".

Gold Open Access:  Publishing a scholarly article in a peer-reviewed journal with open access, sometimes financed through article publication charges (APCs).

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. 

Preprint: Author-created version of a manuscript first submitted to a publisher or shared with a public audience, before peer review. (learn more about preprints

Postprint:  Author-created final version of a manuscript after peer review, also known as the "accepted manuscript".  This is the version mandated in the NIH Public Access Policy.

Publisher's version/PDF:  Copyedited version of the final peer-reviewed manuscript with publisher's formatting and paging.

Open access resources