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University of Texas University of Texas Libraries

Open Access at UT Austin

Learn more about Open Access and what is happening at UT Austin to improve access to research.

Open Access Business Models

Types of Open Access

Open access is a philosophy and not a business model. There are several ways that works can become open access and several ways to pay the costs associated with publication, but there are two main pathways to open access.

Publish with an open access publisher

In this pathway, the work is freely available from the moment of publication. This is sometimes called gold open access. There may or may not be an associated article processing charge (APC) or book publishing charge (BPC). Publishers that are financially supported by institutions, societies, or dedicated volunteer staff are sometimes called diamond or platinum OA because neither readers nor authors have to pay. Gold OA can also refer to hybrid journals. Hybrid journals are those that still require a subscription to access but that offer authors the option to pay an APC to make their single article open access.

Deposit a copy of the work in a freely available archive

This pathway generally happens either at the time of publication or after publication. This is sometimes called green open access. It typically involves the author, or an author's representative, uploading a copy of the article or book chapter to a disciplinary repository, an institutional repository, or a personal website. 

OA Business Models

Here are some examples of different open access business models that UT Austin supports. Please see our OA principles document and/or our current list of supported initiatives for more information.

Subscribe to Open

This is an OA model that converts traditional subscription journals to OA one year at a time using existing library relationships and payments. Institutions subscribe in the traditional manner and when sufficient revenue is collected (based on targets set by the publisher), the journal is published OA for that year. If revenue goals are not met, then that year’s content stays subscription only. Any institutions subscribing after the fact would need to pay more than institutions that subscribed before the OA decision was made. (examples: Annual Reviews, Berghahn Open Anthro)

Diamond OA

Diamond OA journals are free for readers and free for authors. The costs of publication are supported by an institution like UT, a group of institutions (through something like OACIP), a society, or dedicated journal volunteers. (examples: Ars Inveniendi Analytica, Demography)

Unlimited Publishing Option

Both subscription-based and fully open access publishers are now offering options for institutions to pay a flat fee and get unlimited OA publishing for their authors. With subscription-based publishers, this option is frequently called Read & Publish as the institution is paying for both access to read journals and access to publish OA. As a research intensive university, this model is a better option for us than a model that has the institution pay APCs as they are incurred or pay a flat fee that may not cover all authors. (example from subscription-based publisher: Cambridge University Press) (example from OA publisher: PLOS)


In the membership model, institutions pay a fee and receive memberships benefits like access to services (example: DataCite), access to collections (example: HathiTrust), or discounted article processing charges (example: MDPI). UT Austin may also support initiatives that we use heavily like arXiv. In those cases, our support is designed to keep that important tool viable and open for our users and users around the globe. 

Open Book Publishing

There are a few different OA business models for books that UT supports. One model is similar to subscribe to open, but all publishers run their program slightly differently. A simplified explanation is the publisher identifies a revenue target and then asks libraries to support making that year's books or that particular collection OA, rather than buying individual books. If the target is reached, then the books are open to anyone (example: MIT Direct to Open). Another option involves supporting a publisher with a flat fee and getting a discount on book publishing charges for UT Austin authors (example: Luminos). Still other book publishers may ask libraries to pay to become members as a way to eliminate book publishing charges for all authors (example: Open Book Publishers). 

What Can I Share?

UT Libraries Support for OA Publishing Initiatives

UT Libraries is interested in supporting a scholarly publishing ecosystem that provides maximum access to high quality information to the greatest number of users. We are also interested in supporting open access business models that are financially sustainable for a research intensive university. To that end, we've been supporting several different OA publishing and OA infrastructure initiatives for the last several years.

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