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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.

Gold OA

Gold Open Access scholarship is distributed to readers without charge. Of course, there are still costs associated with that publication. The UC Libraries' Pathways report breaks down Gold OA into two categories, depending on whether there is a per-publication charge. Per-publication charges are often referred to as APCs (for "Article Processing Charge"). There can also be BPCs (for "Book Processing Charge").

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."

Hybrid Journals

When some articles in a journal are open access (typically by means of an APC) and others are not, this is called a hybrid journal. While having some articles open improves access to those articles and enables their authors to meet open access mandates, the hybrid model poses challenges for the broader open access movement.

Toward an Open Monograph Ecosystem (TOME)

Penn State is participating in Toward an Open Monograph Ecosystem (TOME), an initiative to support the publication of open-access, peer-reviewed monographs. The initiative is sponsored by the Association of Research Libraries, the Association of American Universities (AAU), and the Association of University Presses (AUPresses). Under the initiative, Penn State will pay up to $15,000 to support publication of an open access monograph by a Penn State faculty member at a participating press.

APC Discounts for PSU Authors

Some publishers that charge APCs offer discounts on those APCs based on the institutional subscriptions purchased by the author's library. The following APC discounts are available to Penn State authors:

Sources of Funding for APCs

Grants and sponsored projects funds

When applying for funding take publication costs into account in all grant applications. If the publication stems from a pre-existing grant, inquire with the funder whether grant money may be used to fund APCs.

Individual funds

Funds that typically pay for expenses associated with your scholarship (appointment-related funds and other research accounts) may be available for covering publication costs. Check with the administrator of the individual fund for details. 

Unit funds and special programs

Similarly, your unit may provide funds that may cover APCs. Check with the administrators of the unit funds to see what may be available. 

Identifying and Evaluating Gold OA Publishers

For help identifying and evaluating open access publishers, contact the library liaison for your subject area. The resources below may also help you to find publishers in your field and evaluate their OA policies.