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Where to Publish Your Research: Publishing Open Access

What is Open Access and what are Article Processing Charges?

What is Open Access?

Open Access (OA) is a model of publishing that allows unrestricted online access to scholarly journal articles.

How is this different from Traditional Subscription-Based Publishing?

Traditional, subcription-based publishing relies on university libraries to pay for access to journals. Only enrolled students and faculty can access the content of these journals. The cost of publishing is covered by the subscriptions.

What is Open Access?

What are Article Processing Charges (APCs)?

An Article Processing Charge (or APC) is the fee to publish in some open access journals. (Not all open access journals or publishers charge a fee to publish an article.)

How much are APCs? An example

Pros and Cons of Open Access


  • Anyone can read your work for free. You can read other open access work for free.
  • Anyone can discover your work by using a search engine. Search engines index open access work.
  • You keep your copyright, which means you can post your work anywhere and share it with anyone.
  • Traditional subcription-based publishing is not accessible to anyone outside of a university or corporate setting. The cost to read a single article is cost prohibitive to individual scholars, universities in developing nations, and the public. The cost barriers to access keep non-open access hidden.


  • Some journals charge Article Processing Charges, which can be thousands of dollars per article.
  • Predatory journals use the open access model to prey on authors. These journals do not provide editorial services, peer review, or indexing services. Publication in a predatory  journal may damage your reputation. Predatory journals use direct email spam techniques to target early career faculty by offering quick publication. They charge Article Processing Charges (APCs), but do not provide any services for them besides online publication (no review, no editing, no indexing). It is important that you verify that your open access publisher is legitimate before submission.
  • Tenure and promotion committees often favor journals published under the traditional subscription model
  • People erroneously believe open access publications do not receive peer review.

Optimized research cycle


Open Access Books

Radical Open Access - Formed in 2015, the Radical Open Access Collective is a community of scholar-led, not-for-profit presses, journals and other open access projects. Now consisting of more than 50 members, they promote a progressive vision for open publishing in the humanities and social sciences.  Here is a list of their academic-led presses.  Many of these publishers are committed to non-traditional, non-western scholarship.  This site includes a page of OA publishers and organizations who offer funding for OA publishing.  It including national universities around the world (in US, Emory OU, UC Berkeley and Cornell) and legitimate institutions, foundations (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) and government agencies from around the world. 

KNOWLEDGE UNLATCHED - KU works with publishers, libraries and ebook platforms (JSTOR, MUSEOpen, HathiTrust) to make new or already published books open access. 

TOME - Toward an Open Monograph Ecosystem,  advances the wide dissemination of scholarship by humanities and humanistic social sciences faculty members through open access editions of peer-reviewed and professionally edited monographs.

TEXTBOOKS - A guide to open access textbooks or Open Education Resources (OERs). 

What do the colors mean?

Gold OA is where an entire journal is open access. Rather than the traditional subscription-based publishing model, the journal funds its operations using Article Processing Charges paid for by the authors.


Hybrid OA is where a journal that uses the traditional subscription-based publishing model allows authors the option to publish their article OA. The OA article will be marked open access but the rest of the journal articles will be behind a paywall. Publishing is paid for by Article Processing Charges, and the individual articles are free to the public. The author may or may not retain the copyright under Hybrid OA.

Green OA The publisher, who owns the copyright, may allow the author the right to self-archive on a personal website, an institutional repository, or a third-party repository, like ResearchGate or

Open Access Explained

Open Access Journal Directories