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Hunter Library
Research Guides
Western Carolina University

Open Access

Find an Open Access Journal or Repository

For already published scholarship

Determine the copyright status of your already published works by browsing SHERPA/RoMEO

Find an Open Access Journal

The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) is a community-curated online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals. The directory currently includes almost 9,000 journals. 

Find an Open Access Repository

To find an open access repository, search the OpenDOAR database. OpenDOAR is an authoritative directory of academic open access repositories.

Submit to WCU's institutional repository (IR)

NC DOCKS holds the works of students and faculty from 8 UNC schools. Why archive your work there?

  • It's easily discoverable: NC DOCKS is crawled by Google and provides full-text keyword access.
  • In addition to published scholarship, you can submit data sets and pre-prints of your work.
  • Anyone, anywhere, anytime can see your work - no database subscription required.
  • Your work will be permanently available through a URL that will never break.
  • You will have a profile page that includes statistics that can be linked to from academic profile sites such as Academia.edu.

Any faculty member interested in contributing works to WCU's IR, NC DOCKS, should contact Scottie Kapel, skapel@wcu.edu.

Negotiating Author's Rights

Preserve your rights as an author - do not automatically sign the publisher's "Copyright Transfer Agreement." Use the SPARC Author Addendum when you submit a publication to a publisher.

Know Your Rights As the Author

  • The author is the copyright holder. As the author of a work you are the copyright holder unless and until you transfer the copyright to someone else in a signed agreement.
  • Assigning your rights matters. Normally, the copyright holder possesses the exclusive rights of reproduction, distribution, public performance, public display, and modification of the original work. An author who has transferred copyright without retaining these rights must ask permission unless the use is one of the statutory exemptions in copyright law.
  • The copyright holder controls the work. Decisions concerning use of the work, such as distribution, access, pricing, updates, and any use restrictions belong to the copyright holder. Authors who have transferred their copyright without retaining any rights may not be able to place the work on course Web sites, copy it for students or colleagues, deposit the work in a public online archive, or reuse portions in a subsequent work. That’s why it is important to retain the rights you need.
  • Transferring copyright doesn’t have to be all or nothing. The law allows you to transfer copyright while holding back rights for yourself and others. This is the compromise that the SPARC Author Addendum helps you to achieve. 

Scrutinize the Publication Agreement

  • Read the publication agreement with great care. Publishers’ agreements (often titled “Copyright Transfer Agreement”) have traditionally been used to transfer copyright or key use rights from author to publisher. They are written by publishers and may capture more of your rights than are necessary to publish the work. Ensuring the agreement is balanced and has a clear statement of your rights is up to you.
  • Publishing agreements are negotiable. Publishers require only your permission to publish an article, not a wholesale transfer of copyright. Hold onto rights to make use of the work in ways that serve your needs and that promote education and research activities.
  • Value the copyright in your intellectual property. A journal article is often the culmination of years of study, research, and hard work. The more the article is read and cited, the greater its value. But if you give away control in the copyright agreement, you may limit its use. Before transferring ownership of your intellectual output, understand the consequences and options.

What if the Publisher Rejects the Author Addendum?

  • Explain to the publisher why it is important for you to retain these rights in your own work.
  • Ask the publisher to articulate why the license rights provided under the SPARC Author Addendum are insufficient to allow publication.
  • Evaluate the adequacy of the publisher’s response in light of the reasonable and growing need for authors to retain certain key rights to their works.
  • Consider publishing with an organization that will facilitate the widest dissemination of their authors’ works, to help them fulfill their personal and professional goals as scholars.

Avoiding Predatory Publishers

How do you avoid publishing with a Predatory Publisher?

Reputable OA journals should meet the following standards:

  • Provide unfettered (freely accessible) access to all peer-reviewed articles.
  • Be a member of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association OR adhere to its Code of Conduct.
  • Offer a standard article fee schedule for public view.
  • Have a policy to waive fees in cases of economic hardship.
  • The journal should be indexed in a major indexing and abstracting service such as Web of Science, Scopus, PubMed and others. You can confirm the locations where a journal is indexed by consulting with Ulrich's Periodicals Directory. 
  • Most open access journals allow the author to retain their copyright.

If a journal you are considering publishing in is sending up red flags by not meeting these standards, it might be better to consider another place to publish your article.

For more information, click "Task 3: Avoid Predatory Publishers" below.