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Open Access

This guide provides an overview of open access, including green open access, gold open access, funder open access policies, and open access at PSU.

Open Access

Suber, one of the founders of the open access movement, defines open access as follows: "Open-access (OA) literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. What makes it possible is the internet and the consent of the author or copyright-holder."

Penn State's Open Access Policy, AC02: Open Access to Scholarly Articles

Open Access Explained, by PhD Comics

Nine Reasons for Publishing Open Access

  1. Increasing readership and citation of your research.
  2. Controlling costs for libraries and readers.
  3. Making your research available to the communities you study.
  4. Enabling policymakers and other decision makers to act on your findings.
  5. Making it easier for teachers to assign your work to their students.
  6. Complying with funders' open and public access policies.
  7. Keeping publicly funded research in public hands.
  8. Ensuring that readers can readily print, copy, and otherwise reuse your work.
  9. Taking advantage of the full power of the internet to share your results.

Pathways to Open Access

Green OA

"Green open access is repository-based open access. Green OA models are agnostic about publisher open access behaviors, relying instead on institutions and authors to take steps to make otherwise toll-access works freely available in online repositories that may be (and often are) managed by institutions. In essence, successful green open access requires: the right to share a given scholarly output, a copy of it, the motivation to share it, and a location for sharing it (i.e., a repository)."

Gold OA, APC-Based

"In a Gold OA APC-based model, the publisher charges an author (or another entity on their behalf ) a fee (article processing charge, or APC) once the author’s journal article is accepted for publication. There is significant variation in the amount charged for APCs—from a few hundred to several thousand dollars per article, often with STEM journals falling in the upper range. This charge opens the article to all readers on the publisher’s platform, sometimes (and preferably) under a Creative Commons or similar license that allows for broad reuse rights."

Gold OA, Non-APC-Based

"In the case of non-APC funded Gold OA , the costs to produce content (articles, journals, books) are covered without the author’s financial participation, and—in our terminology—without fees levied on a per-publication basis. As with all Gold, the materials are open upon publication with no content subscriptions required for access. Typically, Non-APC Gold OA models pool resources from various sources: institutions and libraries (e.g. Knowledge Unlatched); funders (e.g. Annual Reviews of Public Health); endowments (e.g. Americana Journal of Popular Culture), or other sources and then redistribute these resources to manage the costs of publishing."

Services from the Office of Scholarly Communications and Copyright

The Office of Scholarly Communications and Copyright at the Penn State Libraries supports faculty, staff, and students in making informed & ethical decisions about copyright and the use of copyrighted materials in support of education and scholarly communications. With over $800 million in annual research expenditures, Penn State ranks among the top 20 U.S. research universities. The University Libraries supports teaching, learning, and scholarship at PSU as an active participant in the open access ecosystem, raising discoverability and visibility of Penn State scholarship and resources.

We Are

The Office of Scholarly Communications and Copyright provides guidance, policy development, and advocacy for copyright and scholarly communications matters at Penn State.


  • Consultations
  • Workshops
  • Customized Presentations

We are available to answer your questions by email and appointment. Use our request form to request a customized presentation for your classes, groups, and departments.

We Support

  • Affordable Course Content & Open Educational Resources (OERs)
  • Copyright Education & Training
  • Scholarly & Open Access Publishing 

The information on this site and from the Office of Scholarly Communications and Copyright at PSU Libraries is not legal advice and is provided for informational purposes only. The Office of Scholarly Communications and Copyright is not counsel to any members of the PSU community.