In this Guide:

What Is Open Access?

UC OA Policy Explained by Chris KeltyUC OA Policy Explained by Chris Kelty

UC Open Access PoliciesUC Open Access Policies

Open access (OA) literature is:

  • digital,
  • online,
  • free of charge, and
  • free of most copyright and licensing restrictions.

There are two major approaches to OA:

  • Green:  publishing in traditional journals and archiving in open access repositories, such as eScholarship, arXiv, and SSRN
  • Gold:  publishing in open access journals


Open Access Explained!

A collaboration between Right to Research Coalition and PhD Comics:


The UC Davis library maintains two funds to support the open access publication of scholarly articles, book chapters, and monographs.

The Open Access Fund supports UC Davis Academic Senate, Academic Federation members, faculty, post-docs, residents, fellows, and graduate students who want to make their journal articles or book chapters free to all readers immediately upon publication. The fund provides eligible Davis authors reimbursement up to $1000 per article or chapter for open access fees for those publishing in fully open access journals or books (in which all articles or chapters are published open access).

Learn more about the taking advantage of the Open Access Fund here.

The TOME Fund supports UC Davis Academic Senate and emeriti faculty, and Academic Federation members who wish to publish open access books. A broad list of university presses are committed to supporting this project, making many authors under contract for traditional book publication eligible to apply and instead release their books on open access terms.

Learn more about the TOME Fund here.

The University of California has two open access policies in place that ensure that authors of scholarly journal articles across the system are able to make their work available to the public on eScholarship at no cost.

Learn more about the UC Open Access Policies and how to deposit your articles here.

The NIH Public Access Policy ensures that the public has access to the published results of NIH funded research. It requires scientists to submit final peer-reviewed journal manuscripts that arise from NIH funds to the digital archive PubMed Central (PMC) upon acceptance for publication.  To help advance science and improve human health, the Policy requires that these papers are accessible to the public on PMC no later than 12 months after publication.

Click here for more information  on NIH Public Access Policy.

Open access journals are peer-reviewed journals that provide free, online access to their articles.

Open access journals do not charge subscription fees to readers or libraries. Rather, they cover costs through publication fees, institutional subsidies, endowments, or sponsorships.  Some open access journals do not charge author publication charges.

Where can I find OA journals to publish in?


For work that is not covered by the UC Open Access Policy, publishers’ policies vary on the re-publication of articles or books.  Most journal publishers permit  authors to post accepted journal manuscripts to an nonprofit institutional repository, with some requiring an embargo or delay (Laasko, 2014). Here are some resources:

Before you sign the copyright transfer agreement with the publisher, read and understand the terms.  Consider modifying with the SPARC Author Addendum,  a legal instrument that modifies the publisher’s agreement and allows you to keep key rights to your articles.

Refer to the signed copyright transfer agreement to understand whether open access by posting online or submission to a digital repository is permitted.

Sherpa / RoMEO maintains a database of publisher / journal postprint and preprint policies.  Verify the information on Sherpa / RoMEO with the publisher / journal because it is not always current.  Sherpa/RoMEO provides links to related information on journal and publisher’s websites.

Determine which version of your scholarly work you may post and whether an embargo is required.  Many journals will NOT permit you to post the final published article; however, many will permit posting of the author’s accepted manuscript.  See Table for guidance on confusing version language.

Table:  Different versions of green OA copies (Bjork, Laakso, & Welling, 2014).

Definition   Terms used
Working paper A working paper uploaded to an e-print repository Preprint, Author’s unsubmitted draft
Submitted manuscript The version of the manuscript submitted to the journal Preprint, Author’s original draft
Accepted manuscript The accepted version, after peer review but prior to the final copy-editing and layout Postprint, Personal version, Accepted author manuscript, Final author version
Published article An exact digital replicate of the published article Postprint, Version of record, Publisher’s version, Published journal article

List of Academic Journals by Preprint Policy.


Bjork, B.-C.,  Laaskso, M., & Welling, P. (2014). Anatomy of green access.  Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 65(2), 237-250.  doi: 10.1002/asi.22963

Laakso, M. (2013). Green open access policies of scholarly journal publishers: a study of what, when, and where self-archiving is allowed. Scientometrics. In press. doi: 10.1007/s11192-013-1205-3

Dissertations and Theses

Here are links to webpages that describe the current approach at UC Davis to submission, discovery, and access to electronic theses and dissertations (ETD):

In addition to deposit and indexing into ProQuest, some UC Campuses are providing access to ETDs in eScholarship, in order to preserve these scholarly works and, if desired, provide public access:

During the June 2013 GSA Assembly Meeting, the following resolution was approved:

” The Graduate Student Association requests that graduate students, librarians, faculty, and administrators form a task force to develop a policy that would make electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs) more secure and provide Open Access to ETDs to California taxpayers and other relevant stakeholders. Any policy for ETDs should include digital archiving by a University of California institution, like the California Digital Library, and should be written with extensive graduate student input. ”