In celebration of Open Access Week from October 24-30, 2011, we invite you to learn more about open access resources and open educational resources. We have a Research Guide on the topic of open access and scholarly communication issues. There is a growing movement of scholars who desire to have their work accessible to a wider audience through Open Access (OA) methods. Some authors understand that more visibility and greater citations come with greater access to their works.
There are two main avenues for providing greater access to journal articles, books and book chapters. Many scholarly articles are provided in an open access format from the publisher. The publishers of these journals do not charge readers or subscribers to read their content. They receive funding through other means. The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) is a great place to find freely available scholarly articles and journals.
Scholarly authors can also archive their work in local digital repositories, such as Peak Digital. However, the publishers of articles have different restrictions. Some publishers allow the authors to post the PDF versions of articles, while other publishers only allow the pre-print or post-print versions to be posted to a local website. Authors can check for various publisher restrictions at the SHERPA/RoMEO database.
Some publishers provide free backfile access to their articles, but they limit current content to subscribers. Many of the publishers at Highwire Press provide free access to older articles in this fashion.
Most scholarly authors are concerned about citations to their work, and one of the measures of the quality of a journal is the “Impact Factor”. This number is calculated by Thomson Reuters using data derived in their Web of Knowledge product. They publish impact factors in the Journal Citation Reports. As more and more authors and readers find, use and cite OA content, then they will receive higher impact factors. Most of the major article indexing databases (such as the Web of Science) include many OA journals. The world’s largest journal is also an OA journal, PLoS ONE, and that journal has a solid impact factor.