Skip to Main Content

Cushing Library is now permanently closed. It was a pleasure serving you!

Open Educational Resources (OER)

Open Access Resources

Open Access Explained by PhD Comics


Open Access Journal Publishing Explained

Open Access publishing enables the free, immediate, and online availability of research and scholarly products. Open Access journals have been successfully producing and disseminating high-quality research for over a decade. The Directory of Open Access Journals currently lists over 11,000 vetted Open Access Journals.


There are different business models that support Open Access publishing:

Full Open Access
journals make all of their content immediately openly available at the time of publication.  These journals do not operate on a traditional subscription model but instead levy Article Processing Charges (APCs) to cover publication costs.*
Hybrid Open Access
journals are subscription-based journals which give authors the option to purchase immediate open access to their papers. Only those papers that have paid-Article Processing Charges (APCs) will be openly available at the time of publication. Therefore, hybrid journals are effectively paid twice for their Open Access content.**
Embargoed Open Access
journals are subscription-based journals that 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 Article Processing Charges (APCs) for embargoed content. 

*Note that not all Full Open Access journals impose Article Processing Charges (APCs).

**Article Processing Charges (APCs) for both Full Open Access and Hybrid Open Access range between $500 and $5,000.