Getting Started

Open scholarship benefits readers within and beyond the academy. There are also significant benefits to scholarly authors: increased visibility and potential for impact. Scholarly publishing is complex, but asserting your rights as an author is relatively simple. The David Shulenburger Office of Scholarly Communication & Copyright is able to assist at every stage of the academic publishing process. Contact for a consultation or presentation on any aspect of the information below, including:

Open Scholarship

Determine when, where, and under what conditions scholarly articles may be openly shared.
Leverage publisher policies, agreements brokered by KU Libraries, and the KU Faculty Open Access Policy to secure rights to openly share scholarly articles.
KU Libraries supports KU researchers with questions about publishing and sharing their work as widely as possible.

Assessing journals for open sharing policies

Authors should be critical of where they place their work, whether open or traditional venues, and consider author rights, including the right to share their work, among publication venue selection criteria. If you're not sure where to submit your work, consider using the Directory of Open Access Journals or consult with the Shulenburger Office staff for recommended strategies.

SHERPA/RoMEO aggregates known publisher policies on copyright and sharing and provides summaries of self-archiving permissions and conditions on sharing on a journal-by-journal basis. Shulenburger Office staff heavily utilize SHERPA/RoMEO for sharing rights assessments.

Think.Check.Submit is a simple but helpful tool for holistically assessing journals for fit and legitimacy through specific criteria.

How to make your work open

The vast majority of articles may be openly shared in some version, on some timeline. All authors should critically assess journal venues, their rights as authors within a given venue, and proactively share their work. How Open Is It? is useful for considering all journals on a spectrum from open to closed. Regardless of where an author publishes, there are two primary ways to make scholarly articles open:

Publish in Open Journals

Open journals are those whose articles are uniformly open on the journal homepage. They are not behind a paywall or other technological restriction. In many cases, they are openly licensed, such as with Creative Commons licenses in order to permit reuse. Open journals are supported in a variety of ways, including institutional support, scholarly society support, & article processing charges (APCs). Open journals are sometimes referred to as gold journals. KU Libraries is engaged in active support of a number of Sustainable Scholarship initiatives that cover or reduce the cost of APCs.

Transformative Agreements

Transformative agreements are also known as read-and-publish agreements. They incorporate coverage of APCs into the content agreement with the publisher so that institutional researchers may publish openly at no cost to themselves. These agreements are part of the evolving landscape of scholarly publishing. In early 2023, for example, KU Libraries estanblished such agreements with Elsevier, Cambridge University Press, and The Company of Biologists. See Open Access Agreements and APC Discounts for a complete list and publisher-specific information.

Funding Open Access Publication

Open Access journals may be supported in a variety of ways. Some journals are free to both readers and authors. Others are funded through article processing charges (APCs), which can run from a couple hundred dollars to upwards of $5,000. KU’s Open Access Author Fund is designed to heighten the visibility and accessibility of the University's scholarship and to support KU Lawrence faculty, staff and graduate students in all disciplines who choose to publish in open access journals that require author-fees for accepted manuscripts. For publisher-specific support, see Open Access Agreements and APC Discounts.

Sharing Open Access

Once an article is published in an open venue, authors (and others) are free to share it far and wide with assurance that any reader with access to the web will have unfettered access to the full text of the article. We suggest sharing in lots of places, starting with KU ScholarWorks (KUSW), the digital institutional repository of the University of Kansas. KUSW contains scholarly work created by KU faculty, staff, and students, as well as material from University Archives, ensuring preservation and access by a global audience. Additionally, sharing via academic social media, personal pages and blogs, departmental sites, and disciplinary repositories are encouraged.

Publish in Traditional (Subscription) Journals

Traditional or subscription journals usually restrict access to authorized users (institutional and individual subscribers), creating artificial scarcity and barring access to a wide variety of potential readers. In order to increase access, authors who publish in traditional journals should take action to share their work openly through one of the following mechanisms:

Understanding Author’s Rights

Publisher Policies on Sharing

All scholarly authors should carefully read, interrogate, and retain their publication agreements, paying particular attention to the rights they retain as author. When open sharing of some version is permitted, which is common in the majority of cases, authors should exercise their right to share their work openly. If open sharing is not permitted by the default contract, authors may choose to modify the agreement (pdf) or add an author addendum (for either the accepted manuscript (pdf) or the final published “version of record” (pdf)) in order to assert sharing rights. SHERPA/RoMEO is a useful tool for assessing known sharing policies by journal title and/or publisher.

In some circumstances an author may wish to request rights back from a publisher after signing the publication contract. Suggested language to support such requests is available in the Copyright Guide.

Paid Open Access/Hybrid Journals:

Many traditional/subscription journals make available to authors the option to pay an article processing charge (APC) to make their article open access in an otherwise closed context. That is, for the payment of a fee, commonly $2500-$5000, that particular article will be open access alongside other articles in the journal which are behind paywalls. Any author with access to funding is free to consider this option as their prerogative. However, this model creates equity issues, raises concerns about “double-dipping”, and isn’t eligible for funding through the Open Access Author Fund. KU Libraries is actively exploring deals with publishers of hybrid journals that open works by KU authors without the payment of an APC. Such deals, when brokered, will be posted on OA Agreements and APC Discounts.

Leveraging the KU Faculty Senate Open Access Policy

The Faculty Senate Open Access Policy is a tool that may be leveraged to assert sharing rights. KU faculty wishing to utilize the license granted to the University in order to share their work should affirm the policy and forward their accepted manuscript and a complete preferred citation to Waivers are available to authors who require them.

Sharing Scholarship in Open Spaces

Once rights to share have been retained or asserted, authors should act on that right by sharing the work, but where? KU ScholarWorks (KUSW) is the KU scholarly repository, the contents of which are available to any global user with internet access. The nearly 28,000 items in KUSW as of Dec. 2022 have been downloaded over 18 million times, an average of 661 downloads per item. KU Libraries staff will assist in deposit provided the author makes the manuscript file and citation information available to them.

For sponsored research, many funders, both public and private, mandate open sharing as a matter of compliance with the terms of funding. More information is available in our U.S. Federal Funder Public Access Guide.

In addition to KU ScholarWorks, researchers might consider sharing their research outputs in disciplinary or subject repositories, on departmental pages, personal sites or blogs, and/or academic social media. Multiple points of access can increase discovery and supports preservation of your work.

How we can help

The centerpiece of the work the Shulenburger Office is consulting with KU faculty, staff, and students about the benefits of sharing their work and the details of retaining, exercising, or regaining their rights to share their scholarship on open platforms. We are an email or call away, and available to consult on all aspects of the scholarly publishing process, including:

  • Consult on publication venue options that are friendly to open access
  • Review & offer guidance regarding publication agreements
  • Deposit scholarship in KU ScholarWorks
  • Consult on visibility & digital scholarly identity
  • Consult on all other aspects of the publishing cycle

We strive to respond to messages within 24 business hours, email; or reach us directly: Josh Bolick, or Heather MacBean, .  For questions about KU ScholarWorks, please feel free to contact Marianne Reed,