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Open Access Publishing

Digital Scholarship and Scholarly Communications

What is it?

Digital Scholarship and Scholarly Communications are interdisciplinary fields in librarianship that facilitate the production and dissemination of academic research through the use of emerging digital tools and applications, while enhancing the communication of and access to the results of this research.


The open access movement aims to remove legal barriers to the dissemination of scholarly publications. The primary focus of the open access movement is peer-reviewed journal articles in the sciences and the humanities. However, the open access movement has also achieved notable success in other media, including book publishing, digital artwork, and film production.

The most common definition of Open Access comes from the Budapest Open Access Initiative declaration of February 14, 2002: 

By "open access" to this literature, we mean its free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited.

The Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries hosts several open access journals using Open Journal Systems software from the Public Knowledge Project. These journals include AmeriquestsHomiletics, the Journal of STEM Outreach, the Vanderbilt e-Journal of Luso-Hispanic Studies, Vanderbilt Lives, and the Vanderbilt Undergraduate Research Journal.

If you would like to publish your work in open access, we would be glad to consult with you about the options. We'll help you to understand the difference between "green" and "gold" open access models and how to discern the quality and reputation of open access journals. We'll also assist you with understanding the various open access licenses, including the Creative Commons licenses.