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Scholarly Communications

In 2003, ACRL defined scholarly communication as "the system through which research and other scholarly writings are created, evaluated for quality, disseminated to to the scholarly community, and preserved."

What is an open access mandate?​

Research institutions are increasingly adopting mandates that encourage or require researchers to make their research findings freely and publicly accessible. A 'public access' mandate or policy usually refers to a policy of a research funding agency or foundation.

Funders with Public Access Mandates

With the recent OSTP Public Access mandate, research funded by many government agencies must now be made publicly available, with some private funders adopting similar policies.  Below is a list of federal funding agencies that will be rolling out public access plans over the coming months, with links to public access policies when available.  Keep in mind that publishing in an open access journal does not necessarily satisfy compliance with these policies and may not necessary for compliance. Rather, these policies require the deposit of research publications and data in particular open repositories, regardless of the type of journal in which they have been published.  See specific policies for OA in the box to the right for more information.

For more help regarding funder mandates, please contact your research librarian.



Myth:  Open Access is a subversive movement that will ultimately undermine our copyright system.

Fact: Open Access works entirely within our current copyright system. Your work as an author is copyrighted to you the moment you fix it in a tangible medium of expression. You retain that copyright until you give some or all of it away.

Myth: Open Access will destroy the scholarly publishing system and cause journals to fail.

Fact: New models are emerging in scholarly publishing. One safeguard that many journals implement is a time-limited embargo on open access. Journals recoup most of the publishing costs within the first year of publication. Articles can then be made open access without loss of revenue. 
Many journal publishers (Oxford, Cambridge, Wiley, Sage, etc.) have also decided to change their business model from subscription-only, cost-recovery, to a hybrid model, in which open access articles are published alongside traditional ones. Article processing fees are charged to recoup the publishers' costs. Hybrid journal policies should be examined carefully, however; some allow free access to the article but do not allow any of the derivative uses associated with true open access. See "When is Open Access Not Open Access?"

Myth: Open Access journals are not peer-reviewed and are of low quality.

Fact: Open Access journals, just like any other journal, can be peer-reviewed or not, depending on the journal policy. The fact that the journal is open access says nothing about whether it is peer-reviewed. Most scholarly open access journals are peer-reviewed.

Myth: If I want to publish open access I have to submit my article to an open access journal.

Fact: You can submit and publish your article in any journal you like and still make it available open access in our research repository, W&M ScholarWorks

Myth: If I try to retain some rights, publishers will think I am difficult and will not want to publish my work.

Fact: Publishers are very used to dealing with these requests at this point. Far from being unusual, the retention of rights by authors is becoming a mainstream choice.  Approximately 72% of academic journals allow some form or open access archiving without any use of an addendum to the contract.  For a searchable database of publisher policies about copyright and archiving, explore the SHERPA/RoMEO site.

Myth:  Publishing my work open access is a nice, altruistic thing to do, but there is nothing in it for me.

Fact: Open access publishing does help address inequities in access to knowledge globally. Few people in the world have access to the resources we have here at William & Mary. But, in addition, most studies show a clear citation advantage for open access publications. Open access publications are cited more often than those that are subscription-only and citation counts are still important factors in tenure and promotion decisions.

Open Access Policies and Documents

Below are some links to the open access policies, statements and resolutions of a number of organizations and institutions.

Marian Taliaferro's picture
Marian Taliaferro
Swem Library
(757) 221-1893