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Scholarly Communication FAQ

What is scholarly communication?

Scholarly communication is “the system through which research and other scholarly writings are created, evaluated for quality, disseminated to the scholarly community, and preserved for future use.  The system includes both formal means of communication, such as publication in peer-reviewed journals, and informal channels, such as electronic listservs.  Scholarly communication is frequently defined or depicted as a lifecycle documenting the steps involved in the creation, publication, dissemination and discovery of a piece of scholarly research.” (ACRL, Scholarly Communication Toolkit: Scholarly Communication Overview,  Copyright 1996-2019, American Library Association)

What is open access?

From SPARC, “Open access is the free, immediate, online availability of research articles coupled with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment.  Open Access ensures that anyone can access and use these results.” Proponents of open access aim to speed the dissemination of research results and remove the cost barriers inherent to the subscription-based publishing model. 

Open access is not a “one-size-fits-all” and a variety of publishing models exist and are continually being adapted. Below are examples of OA publishing models. This list is not exhaustive.

  • Gold open access refers to articles published in established scholarly journals, monographs, and other outlets that are made immediately and freely available upon publication.  In this model, the author is typically responsible for securing funding to cover publishing costs through an article processing charge (APC).  This model includes content published in “pure” open access outlets (publish onlly open access content), and hybrid publications, (publish a combination of open access and paywalled subscription content). 
  • Green open access refers to self-archiving scholarly content though a pre- or post-print repository, personal website, or other widely accessible venue.  There is typically no charge for green open access, though the version posted may not be the version of record (VOR).  
  • Bronze open access refers to scholarly content that is freely available but lacks a license or copyright statement that defines reuse.  This often happens when a journal decides to release an article publicly but does not attach an open access license to it, making reuse rights unclear. 
  • Diamond open access refers to scholarly content made immediately and freely available at no cost to the author or reader.  In this scenario, publishing costs are usually covered by a third party funder or grants.  
  • Delayed open access refers to subscription content that is released open access after a delay or embargo period.  Embargo periods are typically between 2-18 months.  Many research funders require funded research to be made publicly available after a certain time period, and delayed open access is how publishers comply with this while maintaining the subscription-based business model. 
What is an APC?

An Article Processing Charge or APC is affiliated with the gold open access publishing model.  Rather than funding publishing through institutional subscriptions, open access journals often fund their operations through APCs that the author, their institution, or funder pays after acceptance.  The APC amount varies drastically by subject and journal - APCs can be as low as $200 or as high as $11,000.  The best way to account for APCs is to build the cost of open access publishing into a grant application for sponsored research. 

What is meant by "research impact"?

'Impact' describes the reach and influence of a scholar's work. Learn more about measuring research impact in this guide.

Can the Library help cover the cost of an APC?

While the Library supports open access funding and is continually searching for ways to better support authors who choose this model, at this time it is not financially possible for the Library to cover all APCs for all authors.  Much of the library’s collection funding goes toward providing access to subscription-based resources, which is still the prevailing model in academic publishing.  The Library is current seeking out memberships with publishers that will offset the cost of OA publishing, either through discounted APCs or full waivers.  While we cannot pay for individual APCs, we are continually working to develop solutions to shift the burden of these charges off of researchers and authors. APC costs differ dramatically by publisher and article type.  The best place to find the cost of an APC is through a publisher's website.  

Which journals waive or discount APCs for Yale affiliates?

Please see a full listing of Library memberships with publishers and support for openness initiatives here: Open Access: Library Support.

Where can I find out if a journal allows OA publishing avenues?

There are several tools that make finding information on open access, copyright, licensing, and publisher policies for individual journals easy (well, easier). Sherpa Romeo is "an online resource that aggregates and analyses publisher open access policies from around the world and provides summaries of publisher copyright and open access archiving policies on a journal-by-journal basis". The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) is another helpful directory for finding OA policies for a specific journal of interest. You should also check the publisher's posted copyright policy for more information on gold OA availability and self-archiving options.

What is a preprint?

A preprint is a term generally used to describe an unpublished research paper. An author may decide to submit a preprint to a preprint server or repository to gather feedback from other scholars and/or make findings immediately accessible to the public, though these manuscripts do not go through a peer-review process. bioRxiv and medRxiv are two preprint servers that will likely align with the specialties of medical students and researchers at Yale. Yale helped co-found medRxiv.

What is an ORCID profile and how do I set one up?

ORCID is a unique identifier assigned to an individual author to link the author to their scholarship across all platforms and potential name disambiguations. ORCID is free to sign up for and can help paint a more accurate picture of author impact by linking all of the author’s works and distinguishing between similarly named authors.  Some grant funding bodies now require an ORCID with manuscript submission.  Sign up for ORCID.