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Open Access Publishing: How to Publish Open Access

The NOAA Central Library has created this guide in order to provide a resource for NOAA staff and grantees on open access publishing, including types of open access, benefits of publishing open access, and help with article processing charges.

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What is Open Access?

Open Access refers to a set of principles on how scholarly information is disseminated online, free of cost or other barriers, and comes in a number of varieties, often presented in a color-coded naming system. The most familiar and common of these are the Gold, Green, and Hybrid types of open access. 

  • Gold OA: in this model, the publisher makes articles available for free online immediately. Often these have creative commons licenses and require the author to pay fees for publication. 
  • Green OA: sometimes referred to as "self-archiving" green OA is where the author posts the article on their own personal site or through an institutional repository.
  • Hybrid OA: is when a journal contains a mixture of open and closed articles. These publishers are funded from two streams; OA article processing charges and subscriptions from libraries. 
  • Diamond/Platinum OA: similar to Gold OA, but the publisher does not charge any article processing/publication fees, nor do they charge subscription fees to readers. 

How To Support Open Access

Scientific freedom is alive and well! You are not required to publish open access. Questions to consider are:

  • Is this the best journal for your work?

    • Some journals are gold and therefore you have to pay the fee.

  • Is this the only option?

  • Do you have funds to pay an APC?

    • If no, archive the manuscript for free. This will still satisfy public access requirements.

  • What do your co-authors want?

. Here are other ways to support open access:

1. Submit your journal article’s accepted manuscript to the NOAA Institutional Repository for a Green Open Access option. This is required by NOAA policy, but more importantly it provides long-term access, increases discoverability, and connects you to NOAA’s body of work.
2. Consider publishing in NOAA tech memo or report series. These options would result in an article freely open and available to all.
3. Register for an author identifier, like an ORCID! This identifier is linked to you and you alone. This removes ambiguity, connects your publications together, conveys authenticity! And the best part? Portable! Take this identifier when you move jobs, positions, countries, etc.

Benefits of Open Access

  •  Access 
    • Publishing open access allows anyone to access your publication for education, research, or collaboration.
  •  Visibility 
    • Open access boosts your researches visibility, more access = more eyes on
  •  Citations 
    • With open access and increased visibility you enjoy higher citation rates
  •  Impact 
    • Higher citation rates mean you create a larger impact with your work
  •  Collaboration 
    • Open access opens to door to more collaboration via the above methods
  •  Representation 
    • Without the barriers of paywalls or subscriptions there is increased representation on a global scale

Tools for Selecting a Journal

Below are a few resources to that can help identify journal policies, credibility, open access policies, and more: 

  • Sherpa/Romeo: the site aggregates and analogizes publisher's open access policies and requirements; including self-archiving capapbilities for authors and institutions.
  • Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ): a community-curated online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals.
  • Cabells: an online resource provided by the NOAA Central Library that offers information on journals such as evaluation metrics, open access policies, and more. The site allows you to compare journals and offers insight into some that may have predatory elements. 
  • CHORUS: a service NOAA has contracted with to locate funded research that NOAA has supported. Can be searched and find information about participating publishers and journals.

Publishing as a government employee (or contractor) can be a confusing and tends to run on a much longer timeline than traditional academic publishing; with manuscript management systems, the need for internal reviews, approvals, and IQA reviews. 

For more information about the approval process please see NOAA Framework for Internal Review and Approval of Fundamental Research Communications.