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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 Penn State.

Open Access

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

Open Access Explained, by PhD Comics

Nine Reasons for Making Your Work Open

  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 Scholarly Communications and Copyright Office at the Penn State Libraries supports faculty, staff, and students in making informed and ethical decisions about copyright and the use of copyrighted materials in support of education and scholarly communications. The University Libraries supports teaching, learning, and scholarship at Penn State as an active participant in the open access ecosystem, raising discoverability and visibility of Penn State scholarship and resources.

We are available to answer your questions. Contact us with your questions and requests for a customized presentation for your classes, groups, and departments. Submit a request to the Office of Scholarly Communications & Copyright.


  • Consultations
  • Workshops
  • Customized Presentations
  • Resources & Information

We Support

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