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Penn Libraries Open Access Agreements for Penn Authors: About Open Access Publishing


Open Access

  • "Open access": as a publishing option refers both to reading and citing published works. If a text is openly accessible, it is free to read. Depending on how it is made available (See Creative Commons licenses), it may also be free to reuse.
    • Every piece of original, fixed expression is subject to copyright unless the author intentionally dedicates it to the Public Domain (See our copyright guide and our tab on Creative Commons licensing for more information on copyright and sharing your work).
  • "Open access" may not mean free to publish. There are multiple approaches to making an article or book open access, and four leading models of Open Access publishing (see the neighboring box for more on each model):
    • Green
    • Gold
    • Diamond/Platinum
    • Hybrid
  • Journals can be completely open access (PLOS, e-life, Bryn Mawr Classical Reviews). Some of these journals
    • Charge a fee to authors (or to their research grants),
    • Charge subscriptions to libraries, but are free to read, (also called "subscribe to open"); and some
    • Are free in all senses of the term--free to authors, free to readers, free to libraries (although sometimes sponsored by libraries or academic departments).
  • Journals can be subscription based but offer the option of open access for a fee. These journals are often referred to as "hybrid" journals.
  • Journals can be subscription based but allow others to post their pre-prints publicly.
  • A misconception about the descriptive term "open access," is that it means that there is no peer review. This is incorrect. Just as not all subscription based journals offer peer review, the same is true for open access journals. Please take a look at our tab for evaluating journal platforms to learn more about determining journal quality.

Open Science

2023 definition from the OSTP and the National Science and Technology Council: “The principle and practice of making research products and processes available to all, while respecting diverse cultures, maintaining security and privacy, and fostering collaborations, reproducibility, and equity.” 

Creative Commons Licenses

What are Creative Commons Licenses? 

When you choose to publish your article open access, you will retain your copyright, and you will choose a Creative Commons license to have on top of your copyright. A Creative Commons license tells those who download your article how they are able to use it. 

Please talk to your subject librarian if you have specific questions about this agreement, the Creative Commons licenses, or the benefits of publishing open access. 

Find out more at our Services for Authors Guide. On the same page, check out our Support for Publishing workshop series offered each semester. 

Types of Open Access

Green, Gold, and Diamond are notable models of OA publishing that describe how you make your scholarship openly accessible and the costs (or lack thereof) associated with it. Open Access publications may be accessed through a journal or publisher, through an author's personal website, or through other openly accessible platforms. The Sherpa Romeo database and the Directory of Open Access Journals platform provide information about the type of open access provided by individual journals.

  • Green Open Access

    • There is no fee for you to publish or for your audience to read. This might be publishing in a free-to-publish in and read journal or posting a copy of your scholarship in an institutional repository (Penn's repository is called ScholarlyCommons), your own website, or one of the many preprint platforms. Publishers will vary on what and whether they allow authors to post (preprints or version of record; immediately or after an embargo). This is something to keep in mind when you are signing contracts or reviewing your existing contracts.
  • Gold Open Access

    • This designation is used when a journal funds its open access model by charging the author a fee. This fee is often referred to as an APC or "article processing charge." Authors whose work is grant-funded must often make their work available openly within a specified period per the terms of their grants. In this case, the open-access publishing fee may be covered as part of the grant. Although GOLD Open Access exists across all disciplines, it is more typical in STEM fields than in Humanities or Social Science fields.
  • Diamond or Platinum Open Access

    • These newer OA models receive funding from grants, institutions, professional societies, and/or foundations, and therefore do not charge authors fees to publish or readers fees to read. Many libraries are working with scholarly associations and not-for-profit publishers to help support this model of open access: free to read and publish journals.
  • Hybrid

    • This term is used when a subscription based journal (libraries or individuals subscribe to the journal for a fee) offers authors the option to publish their articles as open access for an APC. If they choose not to, their article will be, at least initially (based on grant requirements), only available to those subscribing to the journal or who are affiliated with a library that provides access to the journal through their subscriptions.

Open Access Journals Receiving Subscription or Membership Support from the Penn Libraries

Although the Penn Libraries does not have funding to support APCs (author processing charges) to publish in open access journals, if you are looking to publish in an open access journal, all of the journals listed below have received subscription or membership support from the Penn Libraries, which should allow you to publish without a fee or at a reduced fee. Please contact your subject librarian for more information. This list will likely continue to evolve: 

  • American Indian Culture and Research Journal
  • Annual Reviews
  • Arab Studies Quarterly
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Berghahn Journals Open Anthro Collection
  • Combinatorial Theory
  • Cultural Anthropology
  • De Gruyter Subscribe to Open agreement 
    • All Penn corresponding authors can publish open access in all De Gruyter journals without APC 
  • Demography
  • Environmental Humanities
  • Glossa Psycholinguistics
  • Journal of agriculture, food systems, and community development
  • Mathematical Science Publishers (MSP)
    • Algebraic & Geometric Topology
    • Algebra & Number Theory
    • Analysis & PDE
    • Geometry & Topology
    • Pacific Journal of Mathematics.
  • Microbiology Society journals
  • Molecular Biology of the Cell
  • PeerJ and PeerJ Computer Science
  • Prometheus
  • SCOAP3* Journals
    •  Acta Physica Polonica B (APPB
    • Advances in High Energy Physics (AHEP)
    • Chinese Physics C (CPC)
    • The European Physical Journal C (EPJC)
    • The Journal of High Energy Physics (JHEP)
    •  Nuclear Physics B (NPB)
    •  Physics Letters B (PLB)
    • Physical Review C (PRC)
    •  Physical Review D (PRD)
    • Physical Review Letters (PRL)
    • Progress of Theoretical and Experimental Physics (PTEP)

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