Open Access

What is Open Access?

Open Access scholarly literature is online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions.

Why Make Your Scholarship Open Access?

Evidence suggests that journal articles that are openly available on the Internet are cited more frequently than articles with restricted access. As early as 2001, an article in Nature investigating the impact of access to conference articles in computer science found that the more highly-cited articles were those freely available online. Since then, studies in a variety of fields—including philosophy, political science, and physics—have shown that open access articles are cited more often than those that are not open. (For a list of such studies and a summary of their findings see The Open Access Citation Advantage.)

Open access also provides important benefits to the public interest and has the potential to change the current scholarly communications system. Since in many fields a journal's distribution channels typically do not extend beyond subscribers, the reach of its articles tends to be narrow and access limited to those who can afford subscriptions. Articles that are open access, on the other hand, are accessible to anyone with a connection to the Internet.

Open Access at Lafayette

On April 5, 2011, the Lafayette College Faculty adopted an open access resolution. With the resolution, each faculty member grants to the college permission to make available his or her scholarly articles in the Lafayette Digital Repository.

Faculty members may send final versions of their peer-reviewed manuscripts to the library by using the digital repository submission form. Library staff will be responsible for depositing articles in the repository.

Faculty members who do not wish to have their articles included in the Lafayette Digital Repository may opt out either for a particular article or for all their articles by sending an email to

Publishing in Open Access Journals

Some Lafayette faculty also choose to make their scholarship openly available by publishing in open access journals. There are full open access journals (such as those from Public Library of Science and BioMed Central) and hybrid journals (such as those published by the American Chemical Society, Oxford University Press, and Springer), where some articles are open access and others are restricted to subscribers or members.

In both types of journals, authors may be charged a publication or processing fee, but may also be eligible for a discount if Lafayette supports that journal already through membership or subscription fees. Lafayette faculty who choose to pay for open access should contact a reference librarian for assistance in determining whether you are eligible for discounts. (Note that you do not need to pay any open access fees to comply with Lafayette's Open Access Resolution and make your articles openly available in the Lafayette Digital Repository.)

Open Access Resources

  • Author Rights, guide to using the SPARC Author Addendum to secure your rights as the author of a journal article with a link to the Addendum
  • Directory of Open Access Journals, a directory of free, full text, peer-reviewed scientific and scholarly journals. Does not include "hybrid" (OA by the Article, Optional OA, or Paid Option) open access journals.
  • OpenDOAR, a directory of academic open access institutional repositories.
  • Create Change, a joint venture of the Association of Research Libraries & SPARC advocating for change in scholarly communication
  • Open Access Directory, a wiki where the open access community maintains factual lists about open access.