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Scholarly Communication

The term "scholarly communication" is a general term that covers research, scholarship, and many different areas of academia.

What is Open Access?

Learn about Open Access from PHD Comics and their "Things Explained" series.  Animation by Jorge Cham, Narration by Nick Shockey and Jonathan Eisen, Transcription by Noel Dilworth. Produced in partnership with the Right to Research Coalition, the Scholarly Publishing and Resources Coalition and the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students

According to Peter Suber, the Director of the Harvard Open Access Project

  • Open-access literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions.
  • Open Access removes price barriers (subscriptions, licensing fees, pay-per-view fees) and permission barriers (most copyright and licensing restrictions). The Public Library of Science shorthand definition —"free availability and unrestricted use"— succinctly captures both elements.
  • There is some flexibility about which permission barriers to remove. For example, some Open Access providers permit commercial re-use and some do not. Some permit derivative works and some do not. But all of the major public definitions of Open Access agree that merely removing price barriers, or limiting permissible uses to "fair use" ("fair dealing" in the UK), is not enough. 

Some grant and funding organizations have Open Access requirements for their recipients, requiring them to place their research into publicly accessible repositories like PubMed Central. The National Institutes of Health has had an Open Access requirement for grantees since 2008, and announced in 2013 that they will begin holding back funding from researchers that do not comply with this requirement. 

In 2014, the CSUSM Academic Senate unanimously approved a Resolution in Support of Open Access for Faculty Publications. 

FAQ about Open Access

Why Open Access? What is the benefit to me as a faculty member? What is the benefit to CSUSM?

Open access provides increased visibility of and access to the research produced at CSUSM. The immediate and widespread availability of material in ScholarWorks provides worldwide access to scholarship, particularly to those that don’t have paid subscriptions to academic journals. The increased visibility and accessibility often results in increased readership and more citations. It is online access to the scholarly output of the campus community anytime, anywhere there is a computer and an internet connection and helps to remove the obstacle of privilege to scholarship.

Do other campuses have OA Policies?

Yes, many other schools have open access policies. The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Research Coalition has more information about open access policies around the globe.

How was this resolution of support written?

The Resolution in Support of Open Access for Faculty Publications was written by the Library & Academic Technology Advisory Committee (LATAC, now called Technology Policy and Advisory Committee TPAC), a standing committee of the CSUSM Academic Senate. It was presented to the Senate in the Spring of 2014 and passed with a unanimous vote of support.

Open Access Resources

SPARC: The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Publishing Coalition has a wealth of information about scholarly communications, author rights, as well as Open Access and Open Educational Resources.

OpenDOAR  The Directory of Open Access Repositories, lists over 2,000 repositories around the world where research and scholarship is available.

Several colleges and universities are adopting Open Access Policies for their campuses. Some of these organizations even voted the policy in with unanimous faculty votes. Cal State East Bay recently passed a Harvard-style green OA policy on April 13, 2021 and it was made effective by signature of President Cathy A. Sandeen on May 19, 2021.

The Directory of Open Access Journals  (DOAJ) is an index of over 17,000 open access journals from across the globe. Journals from all countries and in all languages are accepted for indexing by DOAJ. 

OA Books

Open access book publishing is another way that faculty, staff, and researchers can share their scholarship. OAPEN, the Open Access Publishing in European Networks has a comprehensive guide and toolkit for Open Access Publishing.  This toolkit aims to help book authors to better understand open access book publishing and to increase trust in open access books. You will be able to find relevant articles on open access book publishing following the research lifecycle, by browsing frequently asked questions or by searching with keywords.

Predatory OA Publishers

There are some people trying to capitalize on the Open Access movement by charging authors and researchers high publishing fees to be published in journals that may look scholarly - but they are really more just to generate money. Scepticemia has a fantastic blog post that explains "predatory open acccess." It's not always easy to tell what is a predatory journal.

The Association of College and Research Libraries blog (ACRLog) explored "predatory publishing" in April, 2013. Included in their post is information about how to evaluate sources and how to determine if a publication could be considered "predatory." The site Think, Check, Submit can help authors to think about how to find the right publisher for their research.