Open Access Publishing How-To

Maybe you want to increase the impact of your work by making it available worldwide. Or maybe you received funding from an agency that requires you to make your article publicly available. Whatever your motivation, publishing your scholarship open access does not need to be complicated. If you’re curious about how to start publishing your work open access, follow our simple steps below.

When publishing a journal article... 

When You Can't Publish in an OA Journal

Sometimes, the best place for your article is a traditional subscription-based journal. You may still have options for making your article openly available.

1. Publish in a hybrid open access journal.
Some traditional journals, including many high-profile journals, have adopted a hybrid model. Articles in these journals are generally available by subscription only, but authors have the option of paying a fee to make their article open access.

2. Deposit the article in a repository
You can often make your article openly available in a repository by following these steps.

Step One: Check the Publisher's Policies

Before you publish, look up the journal or publisher in SHERPA/RoMEO, a free database of publishers’ policies on author rights. Most journals allow an author to post some version of an article in a repository, but their policies vary. For example, you may be allowed to post your original manuscript or the final manuscript after peer review, but not the final published PDF of the article. The publisher may also specify an embargo period.

Step Two: Retain Your Rights

When you publish, you'll sign an author agreement with your publisher. If you'd like to make your article available through a repository and their standard author agreement does not allow that, make sure you negotiate!

Step Three: Deposit the article in a Repository

Once you’ve ensured that you have the right to make your article available through a repository, you can deposit it in your institution’s repository, a subject repository, or both!

Having trouble identifying a repository in your field? Check the Directory of Open Access Repositories (OpenDOAR), the Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR), or reach out to your subject librarian for help!

Find out how to submit your article to OpenEmory, Emory’s open access repository of faculty works.

Choosing an OA Journal

While open access journals are free to read, they are not free to produce.  Some publishers have article processing charges (APCs) which are billed to the author as a way to fund the production of the journal.  This new business model, and the relatively low bar of entry to publish online, has encouraged some unscrupulous publishers to create new open access journals which do not follow accepted scholarly publishing practices, including editorial selection and peer review.

Whether you publish open access or not, you will want to consider carefully where to publish your work.  Part of selecting a journal is determining its quality and fit for the topic of your article.  There are several criteria to consider when evaluating the quality of open access journals.

When publishing a book... 

When you publish a book, you may have more options available when you negotiate your author agreement. If the publisher offers OA publishing options, you can ask that your work be published in an OA format. If the publisher does not offer OA publishing options, you can negotiate to have your book deposited in an institutional or subject repository. Many publishers will allow for deposit if the repository can offer an embargo period.

For Emory faculty in the humanities who are interested in exploring digital publishing and open access distribution, the Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry has a digital publishing initiative which provides support and funding. Please contact Mae Velloso-Lyons at

Need help funding your OA journal article or book? 

Emory Libraries offers an Open Access Publishing Fund to help faculty, students, and researchers make their work openly available.