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International Open Access Week: October 19 - 23, 2020

Open Access FAQ


What IS 'Open Access'?

Open Access (OA) is research literature that is digital, online, free of charge to access, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions.


Is OA literature any good? Is it peer-reviewed?

While not every journal available for no cost on the internet is peer-reviewed, most OA journals adhere to the quality control standards of their disciplines, including the peer-review process.

Some OA literature, such as preprints (not yet refereed articles) that are archived in institutional or disciplinary digital repositories, will not be peer-reviewed.


How can this OA literature really be free? Doesn't it cost money to publish, even if it's just an online, digital journal?

Online OA journals cost less than traditional print journals, but yes, there still is a cost. OA journals may charge a processing fee (for peer review, manuscript preparation, and server space).

These fees may be paid by the author, partly subsidized by a professional society or academic institution, paid for by the author's employer, or by a funding agency, and in cases of economic hardship may be waived.


What does OA literature really matter? There are plenty of well-established journals already that have been around for many years. Why do we need these online-only journals and repositories?

Research is mostly funded by the public, via grants distributed by government agencies, then carried out by researchers for the common good.

Yet when research results are distributed by legacy publishing companies, easy access to it is often restricted, by legal, technical, and financial barriers. Not only is the public in effect forced to pay again to access what they already funded, but new research techniques (such as data and text mining, possible now due to the internet) are blocked, and the free exchange of knowledge that fuels discovery and innovation is throttled.

This has led to the call for Open Access, an alternative to the old, traditional publishing model of decades past.


Ok, where can I learn more?

See our Open Access guide.

Some of the organizations advocating for Open Access include: SPARC* and The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).

Check out the Open Access Directory for an amazing listing of OA resources.

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Did You Know?

  FSU has its own digital repository - it's a great place for faculty to archive their scholarship.

  Research has found a definite cost savings to the Public thanks to OA research literature (versus having just traditional subscription literature).

  There are over 15,000 Open Access journals listed in the DOAJ, and anyone, anywhere in the world can read them for free!


“Open Access Week.” Accessed October 17, 2020.
SPARC. “SPARC: Setting the Default to Open in Research and Education.” Accessed October 17, 2020.