Open Access

Modes of scholarly communication are evolving. Scholars are increasingly discussing sharing more than just the research article or book. This emphasis on sharing and openness is sometimes called open scholarship. Open scholarship encompasses three main areas: open access, open education, and open data.

Open Access

Open access (OA) is the free, online availability of scholarship that is free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. This is much different from traditional, toll-access publishing that charges for access to content; usually through individual or institutional subscriptions.

Gold Open Access

The form of open access that most people are familiar with is publication in an open journal, also called gold open access. Publishing still costs money and gold open access is supported in a couple different ways. Some journals levy an article processing charge (APC) for each accepted article. These charges cover the costs of operation and potentially generate profits from publication. Other journals are financially supported by an institution or organization and therefore do not levy an article processing charge.


An alternative to gold open access is the self-archiving of research that has been (or will be) published in a traditional journal. This is usually called green open access. If you are curious about whether a journal you’ve published in allows self-archiving, we recommend checking their policies in the Sherpa/Romeo database.

Many funding agencies are mandating that research supported with their dollars be freely available for anyone to access. For information about funding agency policies, please use this tool.

If you are trying to find a reputable open access publisher, you can consult the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) or Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA). If you have questions about open access publishing opportunities in your subject area or questions about a specific open access publisher, please contact your subject liaison for assistance. If you would like to learn more about UT Austin open access initiatives, events, or news items, please visit our open access blog.