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Open Access

What Is Open Access?

The term "open access" refers to research output that is

  • immediately and freely available to anyone upon publication, and 
  • free of many copyright restrictions that prevent reuse by others.

Why Publish Open Access?

  • Open access publishing can increase your research impact by making it visible to readers beyond those who have a subscription to the journal.
  • Some funders (for example, the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Healthrequire the output of their funded research to be made openly accessible.

How to Publish Open Access

Under a traditional publishing model, journal subscribers (such as libraries) absorb the costs of publishing. Various open access alternatives are emerging as a counter to the traditional model. Some of these alternatives involve publication costs instead being charged to the author - costs you will sometimes hear referred to as article processing charges (APCs). 

Options for Article Processing Charge Payment

  1. Grant Funding: If you are requesting external funding for your research, you can often write the cost of APCs into your grant.
  2. Institutional Funding: Check with your academic department or college to see if there is funding available to pay for an APC.
  3. Randall Library Open Access Publishing Fund: To help offset the cost of APCs, Randall Library has an open access publishing fund. For those who do not have alternative means of APC funding, we will award up to $2400 to individual UNCW authors to publish your research in an open access publication. Click here for more information and to apply!

Agreements with Publishers

  • UNCW authors who publish open access in Karger journals have their APC costs waived.
  • UNCW authors who publish open access in Wiley journals have their APC costs waived.
  • UNCW authors who publish in SAGE journals receive 10% off the cost of their APCs. To take advantage of this discount, complete the following steps:

For articles accepted for publication in a gold open access journal (a journal in which all content is published open access under a Creative Commons licence – visit the journal’s individual website on SAGE Journals to find out if it’s an open access journal) the author should email when they are asked to arrange payment of the APC. The author should include the following information:

  • Article ID
  • Article title
  • Journal
  • Institutional affiliation and state that they are eligible for the Carolina Consortium 10% discount.

The open access team will verify that the institution is a member of the Carolina Consortium. and will provide the author with a discount code and instructions on how to apply the code at checkout in the payment system.

Other Options

Alternatively, an increasing number of open access journals do not charge APCs and are free to publish in. A searchable directory of reputable open access journals without APCs can be found in the Directory of Open Access Journals.

Go Green Open Access

Do you want to get your work out there, but it's still behind a paywall? Even if your research is not fully open access, many publishers have self-archiving policies that allow you to make your work freely available at no cost. This model is called Green Open Access. At UNCW, Randall Library hosts a repository of self-archived research for just this purpose called Seahawk DOCKS. Other options include disciplinary repositories and even personal websites.

If you're ready to Go Green and share your work with a wider audience, the scholarly communications librarian is available to help you investigate potential options and navigate publisher agreements. 

Seahawk DOCKS

Seahawk DOCKS is UNCW's portion of a shared database called North Carolina Digital Online Collection of Knowledge and Scholarship (NC DOCKS). Designed by UNC Greensboro and shared with UNCG, East Carolina University, Appalachian State University, and UNC Pembroke, NC DOCKS is designed to hold digital, online copies of faculty articles, white papers, and other scholarly works, in addition to student theses and dissertations. This type of database is often referred to as an "Institutional Repository," or IR.