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Scholarly Communications

What is Open Access?

Open Access is a movement in academia designed to provide the broadest possible access to research and scholarship while still protecting the faculty’s right to determine how to best showcase this research and scholarship.   

Open access (OA) is a set of principles and a range of practices through which research outputs are distributed online, free of cost or other access barriers. With open access barriers to copying or reuse are also reduced or removed by applying an open license for copyright usually Creative Commons licensing. Open access can be applied to all forms of published research output, including peer-reviewed and non peer-reviewed academic journal articles, conference papers, theses, book chapters, monographs, research reports, and media and images.

Why Open Access or  OA?

In some cases, participation in open access is a condition of accepting grant funding which is the case with the NIH mandate.  Other grant funding agencies are also taking this approach and a listing of these can be found by following the Sherpa Juliet link below.
In general, it has been shown that making your publications available via open access leads to higher visibility which usually translates into higher citation rates. Even if higher citation rates are not realized there is the opportunity for greater visibility within the academic community that can lead to additional opportunities to speak, deliver conference presentations, obtain grant funding, become an editor or reviewer, etc. 
The practical benefits of open access to a faculty researcher include: the ability to control your own intellectual property, including the right to reuse previous publications; the right to distribute the work to others; and the right and ability to create derivative works based on the original work. As more items are available via open access, the ability to use these works in courses or for scholarship is broadened under the principles of open access.

Additional Information on Open Access

At UIS, your library liaison or the Director of Collections and Scholarly Communications, H. Stephen McMinn at, or the links below can help you to find more information about open access.

What are Open Access Journals?

Open-access journals are scholarly journals that are available online to the reader "without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself." Some are subsidized, and some require payment on behalf of the author.

If you have any questions about whether or not an open access journal is a legitimate scholarly publication, you can check the Directory of Open Access Journals, which vets open access journals for quality control and peer review, Beall's List of potential predatory journals and publishers, or consult a librarian.

Open Access Policy

The result of this policy is that all scholarly articles authored or co-authored while the creator is a member of the Faculty since the creation of the policy will provide an electronic copy of his or her final version of the article (i.e., the final author’s version post peer-review” or the “final published version” where possible) to the designated repository. In the case of the University of Illinois Springfield this would be the IDEALS, Institutional Repository.

There are numerous exceptions to this policy as well as numerous details that need to be worked out. The policy states that " The Campus Senate, through an appropriate existing committee, and the Office of the Provost will be jointly responsible for implementing this policy, resolving disputes concerning its interpretation and application, and recommending any changes to the Faculty of the campus." So there will be ample opportunity to put in place a process that works efficiently and effectively for the faculty authors covered by this policy.

Q & A on the University of Illinois Open Access Policy

Q - Does the Open Access Policy limit where I can publish my research?

A -- No, the policy has an opt-out option allowing authors to publish in journals that discourage Open Access.  It is encouraged that authors attempt to retain the rights important to them using this policy or author addendums to copyright transfer agreements to retain some rights. 

Q - Does the Open Access Policy mean I have to publish in Open Access Journals?

A -- No, the policy could be satisfied by the deposit of an article into the university’s institutional repository or other repository or platform that allows for open access.  There is also the option to opt out of the policy.