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Open Access: Home

What is Open Access?

Open Access (OA) refers to free online availability of research articles, coupled with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment. Open Access is broadly defined, and can be understood in relation to journal publishing at large or at the individual article level (SPARC). This guide is designed to help researchers understand the different aspects of OA as related to scholarly communications at large. Have additional questions? Librarians can help you navigate the world of academic publishing! Please don't hesitate to reach out to your subject librarian.

Scholarly Communications & Publishing

Scholarly publishing is one aspect of scholarly communications. Scholarly communications refers to the ways that research and scholarly works are created, evaluated, and disseminated to the scholarly community, as well as how those works are preserved in the academic landscape. Scholarly communication includes both formal channels, such as peer-reviewed journal publications and informal channels, such as websites and blogs (ARL definition).

Increasing Visibility & Access to Your Work

Research has shown that the more open your publications are, the more likely other scholars will be to utilize your findings, and the greater your scholarly impact is.

Publishing in a green open access journal allows authors to self-archive either the pre-print or post-print version of their manuscript and make it publicly available. 

“Gold” Open Access refers to OA Journals.   These journals usually charge an article processing charge (APC), also known as a publishing fee in lieu of a subscription fee.   If publishing in a Gold OA Journal, use Beall’s List to determine the journal’s validity.  “Green” Open Access refers to journals that allow authors to self-archive.   Self-archiving through an institutional repository, such as the DigitalCommons@Umaine grants access to your publications for free, and can increase the visibility of your research.

Open Access Further Explained

DigitalCommons@UMaine Institutional Repository



The University of Maine’s open access institutional repository, DigitalCommons@UMaine, provides access to the scholarly, educational, and creative works of the University of Maine community

To upload your work to DigitalCommons@UMaine, first create an account hereNot sure if you want to self-archive? Learn more at Why Archive, or contact your subject area specialist.

Not sure if you have permission to upload your work? Check SHERPA/RoMEO for your journal's self-archiving and open access policies.

NOTE: The use of Digital Commons to fulfill funding sponsors' open access requirements is intended for instances when a sponsor gives its funded researcher the latitude to select a repository(ies) in which to store and disseminate her/his subject research results. This is most likely to be the case with private sponsors. Federal funding agencies are required by law to designate the repository(ies) to be utilized.

Because public access solutions vary by sponsor, researchers must pay close attention to proposal guidelines, award terms and conditions, and other sponsor-related communications to ensure they are complying with the requirements of their particular award. For more information about public access to the results of federally funded research please visit the Office of Research & Sponsored Programs' open access compliance page. Investigators also can consult the US Agency Public Access Plans webpage which provides an up-to-date list of, and links to, U.S. agency plans as they are published.

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