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Freely Available and Open Content : Publishing & Sharing Your Work

Tips and sources for finding and accessing high quality information resources to use in research and teaching whether or not you're associated with the UW-Madison.

Ensure your work is freely available to other

As an author, you can take steps to ensure that material you create is more likely to be available to a wider audience. Professional norms and institutional infrastructures are making it easier to share your research and teaching materials while continuing to advance your career and the quality of your work.

Choosing a Publisher

When evaluating an OA journal, consider the following criteria:

  • The journal is included in the Directory of Open Access Journals. Journals indexed in DOAJ after March 2014 (noted with a green check mark or "DOAJ Seal"), underwent a more stringent review process than journals indexed prior to that date.
  • ThinkCheckSubmit - This tool, produced with the support of a coalition from across scholarly communications in response to discussions about deceptive publishing, walks you through the process of evaluating journals.
  • Examine the journal's website for such information as affiliation with a university or professional organization, editorial board credentials, or acceptance rates. If you have doubts, contact members of the editorial board or article authors.
  • Publishing fees and copyright ownership are clearly indicated. For more information about your rights as an author, see the Know your copyrights tab.
  • The publisher is a member of a reputable industry organization such as Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association or the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).

Adapted from Paul Blobaum's Checklist for Review of Journal Quality, Governor's State University

For a more complete discussion, see Walt Crawford's chapter on Dealing with OA Journals in ALA TechSource


Self-Archiving (AKA Repository-based Open Access AKA Green Open Access)

There are generally going to be three documents involved in the authored-to-published process:

  • Author's Original - sometimes referred to as a "pre-print," this is the manuscript originally submitted to the publisher before any further editing or peer review occurs
  • Accepted Manuscipt - sometimes referred to as a "post-print," this is the author's copy of article after it’s been reviewed and corrected, but before the publisher has formatted it for publication
  • Version of Record – The version that is formatted and appears in print or online.

The copyright transfer or license agreements signed by authors will dictate which of these others can use for what purposes. Most publishers allow some type of deposit or self-archiving of some version at some point in time.

SHERPA/RoMEO is a database of publisher copyright policies and self archiving information that authors can use to check which version they may be allowed to archive.


Minds@UW is the University of Wisconsin's institutional repository and an option for researchers looking for a place to self-archive content such as research papers and reports, pre-prints and post-prints, datasets and other primary research materials, learning objects, theses, student projects, conference papers and presentations, and other born-digital or digitized research and instructional materials.

Academic Social Network Systems

Systems such as ResearchGate and have a place in scholarly communication, but authors should keep the following in mind:

  • copyright considerations: many publishers are more restrictive about what, if any, versions of works they publish can be posted at these sites than they are about what can be posted in disciplinary or institutional repositories
  • not a long-term preservation platform: these platforms are not committed to ensuring stable and long-term access to posted materials