University Libraries

Journal Publishing Options

Learn More:
Read “Income models for Open Access: An overview of current practice” which examines the use of supply-side revenue streams (such as article processing fees, advertising) and demand-side models (including versioning, use-triggered fees). The guide provides an overview of income models currently in use to support open-access journals, including a description of each model along with examples of journals currently employing it.

Check SHERPA/RoMEO to see if your publisher allows the deposition of your work into an institutional repository.

View the video Open Access 101 from SPARC for a quick overview.

Listen to “a lively discussion on the Future of Scholarly Publishing.”

Bookmark the NIHMS Stats Page to follow the growing number of manuscript submissions received by the National Institutes of Health for posting to PubMed Central.


By understanding various options in journal publishing, you can make informed decisions on how you want to communicate your intellectual works. Where you choose to publish can make a difference in how often your article is read or cited. According to recent studies, the more accessible your article is, the more likely it is going to be read, discussed and cited.

Traditional Publishing Models

Commercial publishers

Accesses to articles published with commercial publishers are through subscriptions, print or electronic, where the library/university pays annual fees so that the university community has reasonable access. Authors go through a peer-review process and most of the time is asked to sign over their copyright to the publisher. There are some commercial publishers that are adjusting their policies in order to be competitive in the open access era, allowing author self-archiving or depositing in repositories after a specific period of time. Subscription prices for commercially published journals have, on average, risen much faster than inflation during the last two decades.

Society publishers

Access to articles published with society publishers is either through subscriptions paid by libraries/universities, or as part of a membership fee. Society publications that are published by their societies generally have lower subscription prices than those turned over to commercial publishers.

Alternative Publishing Models

Open Access

Open Access (OA) is a model where scholarly articles/works are freely accessible over the Internet and do not rely on subscription-based business models. This includes peer-reviewed literature as well as author pre- and post-prints and other materials made available in open access journal or digital repositories. There are many different economic models for providing open access to academic literature.

For a list of peer-reviewed Open Access journals, consult DOAJ: The Directory of Open Access Journals. You can look up journals by title or by subject discipline.

Institutional Repositories/Digital Repositories

Repositories' purpose is to house and preserve the intellectual output of either their institution or subject discipline. Depending on the institution's deposit policy, repositories contain working papers, pre- and post-prints of published works, teaching materials, technical reports, manuscripts, theses, conference proceedings, newsletters, and other published and unpublished materials that represent the discipline's or institution's intellectual property. Although publication agreements often require authors to cede copyrights to publishers, many commercial publishers allow some form of local archiving.

University of Minnesota authors are encouraged to deposit their work into the institution's open digital archive, the University Digital Conservancy.

Subject-based repositories

Subject or discipline based repositories are most common in those fields where researchers are accustomed to communicating their work to each other through informal networks before publication or, due to rapidly developing aspects of their field, need to get their research out quickly. The longest-established subject repository is arXiv, which was established in 1991 and covers the disciplines of physics and related subjects.
PubMed Central, begun in February 2000, is the National Institutes of Health free digital archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature. Research reports from all NIH-funded
projects are included there, as a result of legislation
that took effect in April, 2008. Authors affected by the law must deposit their final article manuscripts in the PubMed Central archive within 12 months after the journal publication date. Several different pieces of legislation, some expanding access to federally-funded research, and some limiting or undoing it, have been proposed in most of the recent congressional sessions.

For more extensive lists of alternative publishing options see:

See also Overview of Scholarly Publishing Options [table].

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