The NIH Public Access Policy, implemented in 2008, requires that all publications arising from NIH-funded research be sumbitted to the digital archive PubMed Central. These publications may be embargoed for up to 12 months, but after that period must be made accessible to the public.
Similarly, since 2008, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute has required that authors archive research conducted using its facilities in Open Access archives. All biological and biomedical journal articles must be deposited in PubMed within 6 months of publication. For more information, see http://www.hhmi.org/about/research/sc320.pdf.
Wellcome Trust requires that researchers deposit the articles funded in part or in full by the organization in Open Access archives--UK PubMed Central or, alternatively, PubMed Central. The organization also encourages compliance for all earlier projects. For more information, see http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/About-us/Policy/Policy-and-position-statements/WTD002766.htm.
Other funder mandates may be found in the Sherpa Juliet list of Research funders' open access policies.
"Open access (OA) literature is a method of sharing scholarship that is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. What makes OA possible is the internet and the consent of the author or copyright-holder. OA is entirely compatible with peer review, and all the major OA initiatives for scientific and scholarly literature insist on its importance. Just as authors of journal articles donate their labor, so do most journal editors and referees participating in peer review. OA literature is not free to produce, even if it is less expensive to produce than conventionally published literature."
--From A Very Brief Introduction to Open Access by Peter Suber.
There are two major approaches to OA:
There are many OA journals to choose from, of varying quality. In December 2013, DOAJ, OASPA, COPE, and WAME released the Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing, in order to identify criteria "that set apart legitimate journals and publishers from non-legitimate ones and to clarify that these principles form part of the criteria on which membership applications will be evaluated."
Here are some additional approaches to assessing quality, drawn from a variety of sources:
Butler, D. (2013). Investigating journals: The dark side of publishing. Nature, 495(7442). Accessed September 23, 2013, from http://www.nature.com/news/investigating-journals-the-dark-side-of-publishing-1.12666
Millard, W.B. (2013) Some research wants to be free, some follows the money. Annals of Emergency Medicine, 62(2), 14A-20A. Accessed October 8, 2013, from http://www.annemergmed.com/article/S0196-0644(13)00547-7/fulltext
Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA). (2013, December 19). Principles of transparency and best practice in scholarly publishing. Accessed January 8, 2013, from http://oaspa.org/principles-of-transparency-and-best-practice-in-scholarly-publishing/
Special Libraries Association. (n.d.). Should I publish in, or be an editor for, and Open Access (OA) journal?: A brief guide. Accessed September 23, 2013, from http://scitech.sla.org/pr-committee/oaguide/
Health & Life Sciences Librarian
Blaisdell Medical Library
University of California Davis