Open Access

Open Access is an increasingly important method to disseminate scholarly research. This guide will look at some background information and what USF is doing to stay at the forefront of the movement.

What is Open Access?

To put it simply:

Open-access (OA) literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. (Peter Suber, “Open Access Overview”)


Introductions to Open Access:


Further Reading

  • “Perceptions of open access publishing: interviews with journal authors” by Sara Schroter, Leanne Tite, and Richard Smith. BMJ 330, no. 7494 (2005): 756.
  • website from ARL (Association of Research Libraries) providing a great overview of Open Scholarship, including subsections on Open Access, Open Data, and Open Educational Resources.
  • website with aims to “chart innovation in scholarly information and communication flows from evolutionary and network perspectives.” Includes a graphic to show helpful tools for researchers in the world of scholarly communication, and write-ups of many OA resources and potential workflows.
  • blog about scholarly publishing, frequently featuring articles related to OA issues.

Open Access Initiatives at USF

Through Digital Commons, the USF Library publishes, preserves, and promotes faculty publications, student theses and dissertations, conference and event proceedings, open access journals, and textbooks . With more than 7 million downloads from over 200 different countries, publications on Scholar Commons reach the global research community.

If you would like more information about Digital Commons, or if you're a member of the USF academic community (current students, faculty, or alumni), get in touch! You can find contact information here. We'll help explore your ideas.


The Textbook Affordability Project (TAP) promotes awareness of textbook affordability issues and provides solutions to ensure that course materials are up-to-date and satisfy academic needs, while remaining affordable to students. TAP finds potential open access textbooks for students and faculty to freely use, and also coordinates with Scholar Commons' Open Access Textbooks collection. 


Innovative Education's Open Access E-Text Pilot is a partnership with the USF Libraries. The goal of this partnership is to develop new and novel open access textbooks to be used by USF students and faculty, and by the worldwide academic community. The first product of this partnership was published in 2016: The Inside, Outside, and Upside Downs of Children's Literature: From Poets and Pop-ups to Princesses and Porridge.