Open Access Fact Sheet

Open access (OA) is an initiative that began ten years ago when The Budapest Open Access Initiative was launched as a global campaign to “accelerate research, enrich education, share the learning of the rich with the poor and the poor with the rich, make the literature as useful as it can be, and lay the foundation for uniting humanity in a common intellectual conversation and quest for knowledge”. Simply stated, Open Access is unrestricted access to scholarly research. This overview provides an introduction, definition, history and guidance on OA journals. In addition, Open Access Explained presents an animated explanation of OA publishing.

Since the advent of OA, the scholarly publishing industry has experienced substantial transformation and growth. The success and expansion of the OA movement is the result of free, global accessibility provided by the Internet and the increasing costs of journal publications. According to the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), the average cost of a serial subscription for ARL member libraries increased by 321% from 1989 to 2006, while inflation has increased 68%. The exponential growth in scientific research and data, fueled by the Internet, has created an environment of tension between access and traditional publishing models. Currently, there are over 6,000 OA journal publications, and it is anticipated that production level will continue to rise.

Open Access Journals

There are two options available for researchers to publish their research via OA. The green/gold classification is only about "delivery vehicles"; and does not address/impact user rights or degrees of openess.

  • Green OA
    • Authors publish in a subscription journal and self-archive a freely available version of the article in an institutional repository (OpenSky). Green journal publishers are those that allow self-archiving.
    • In most cases, Green OA does not conduct peer review.
  • Gold OA or a Hybrid OA
    • Authors publish in OA journals that provide free, immediate access to the articles via the publishers websites that may or may not incur authors fees.
    • Hybrid OA journals provide Gold OA for authors who pay an upfront-fee to publish on their journal's website.

Open Access at UCAR/NCAR

OpenSky, the institutional repository, administered by the NCAR Library, preserves and makes freely accessible the scholarly record of UCAR, NCAR, and UCP, in support of the broad mission of UCAR to foster science, support its community, and facilitate the transfer of knowledge. The Library provides support for:

    • Educating UCAR/NCAR administration and community about open access
    • Administering the institutional repository - OpenSky
    • Supporting and providing access to open access journals

Benefits of submitting research scholarship to OpenSky:

    • Global dissemination of scholarship
    • DOI's minted for UCAR copyrighted materials
    • Expertise regarding copyright practices and authors' rights
    • Permanent online home for your scholarship
    • Institutional reporting

Open Access Support

Open Access Services

Agreement with Publishers

As an author you have many options and rights with regard to copyright. If you have questions or concerns about copyright transfer please contact OpenSky before proceeding with your publication agreement.

  • AMS and AGU - Together, the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Union publish nearly 50% of UCAR scholarship. To ensure broader, expedited access to this research, both AMS and AGU have embargo periods of only six months.

Identifying Publishing Opportunities

  • Decide early (before drafting the paper)
  • Consider journals that frequently publish in your field of discipline
  • Consider journals that frequently publish work that you cite
  • Consider your target audience and potential accessibility of the article/journal
  • Consider the impact value of the journal and its influence in specific disciplines
  • Consider the cost (if applicable) and time factor from submission to publication

Impact Factor

Determining the impact of scientific research has become an important metric in accessing, tracking and evaluating research activity. Open access has contributed to increased discoverability and visibility for others to cite. There are many aspects of an impact factor:

  • Journal impact factor - a quantitative tool for evaluating the relative importance of a journal. It is a measure of the frequency with which its published papers are cited up to two years after publication.
  • Individual author's impact factor - h-index (or Hirsch index) - calculation is based on author's published papers.

The Library subscribes to the Web of Science research tool which provides access to peer reviewed journals (including some open access journals). It also provides the h-index for individual authors. When evaluating impact factors, there are many considerations which need to be included to ensure the final value is correctly represented and understood. Here are a few recommmendations to incorporate into the process.

Issues to be aware of:

  • Web of Science counts the number of papers published, therefore favors authors who publish more and are more advanced into their careers.
  • When comparing impact factors you need to compare similar authors in the same discipline, using the same database, using the same method.
  • Be sure to indicate limitations.
  • In general you can only compare values within a single discipline. Different citation patterns will mean, for example, an average medical researcher will generally have much larger h-index value than a world-class mathematician.
  • The h-index may be less useful in some disciplines, particularly some areas of the humanities.

For further assistance in this process, please Ask a Librarian or call 303-497-8505.