Tips and Tricks

SFU Library's Open Access Strategy

April 26, 2012

Access to research papers is an explosive topic in academia today. It's a topic which will have deep and long-lasting effects on today's graduate students, particularly those who plan to stay in academia. We invited the SFU Library to tell us more in this guest-post.

Guest Post by Nicole White, Head, Research Commons, SFU Library

Like other academic institutions, the percentage of our collections budget allocated to online journal packages has increased in the past several years, with significant spending on commercial publishers' e-journal packages.

Many of these commercial publishers do make large profits, which is a cause of concern for many university libraries and scholars. See the recent statement from the Harvard University Faculty Advisory Council.

Acknowledging the increasing pressure on our collections budget and sharing in the responsibility to provide access to scholarship, in 2010 the Library developed an Open Access strategy (pdf) and graduate students can certainly benefit from the recommendations made as a part of that strategy.

A few tips for graduate students:  

  • Liaison librarians are a great resource for research help and also for advice in scholarly publishing matters. They keep up to date on OA developments in their subject areas and can advise graduate students on where to publish, how to retain their rights as authors, and how to archive their scholarship. 
  • The Library has a Scholarly Publishing webpage that provides background on OA publishing, OA journals, and SFU Support for OA Publishing.
  • The SFU Library administers a central fund to support SFU authors (including graduate students) who publish in Open Access journals that charge article processing charges. 
  • To ensure their work is made available openly, graduate students can archive their scholarship in SUMMIT, the Library's institutional repository. Summit provides a long-term stable home for SFU research and it can accommodate article preprints or final refereed manuscripts (the author's version of the article, not the publisher's published version); research reports; book chapters; images of artwork; conference presentations; video and theses. Summit is also crawled by search engines including Google Scholar.
  • For graduate students who may be unfamiliar with OA journals in their field try the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). The Directory aims to be comprehensive and cover all open access scientific and scholarly journals that use a quality control system to guarantee the content.

— Research Commons, SFU Library (See the library's twitter feed)

It's a huge topic, and we've barely touched on the surface. Here are a few more links to give you some more background. If you have any additional suggestions of articles or websites to add to this list, email us at



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