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Stony Brook University

Open Access

What About Peer Review?

Peter Suber and many other adherents to the open access revolution are quick to dispel any talk that open access journals are not put through the same peer review processes as their for-profit counterparts. Suber playfully notes that "OA journals are like non-OA journals except that they're OA." When you are looking for source reliability, the same rules apply. If it is in a scholarly journal, open access or not, it is peer reviewed. For more information, consult "Peer Review and Open Access," a comprehensive article on the subject. Of course if you dig deep, you will fine some shady sources, but the same goes for non-OA journals. There are high and low quality publications, OA doesn't change that.

See SBU Libraries Open Access Databases & eJournals Collection

For details on data management, see our new Research Data Services guide!

Digital/Institutional Repositories

Digital/institutional repositories represent the green open access that was discussed in the definitions. An institutional repository is a digital archive of a university's academic output. In general, they are intended to provide open access to an institution's research and publications. Institutional repositories must adhere to a worldwide standard of publishing so that the articles are findable on platforms like Google and Google Scholar. Think of it like a free database of current and past global research.

Institutional repositories can contain:

  • Peer reviewed journal articles and conference proceedings
  • Stand-alone monographs
  • Research data and results
  • Theses and dissertations

OpenDOAR, also known as the Directory of Open Access Repositories, is exactly that, a one-stop directory of open access repositories. It allows users to search for specific repositories as well as subject content within many at once. Indexed repositories are approved by OpenDOAR staff to ensure the quality and validity of the contents (similar to peer review).


Institutional repository definitions via



Why Open Access?

(Content: Jill Cirasella. Graphics: Les Larue. License: Creative Commons: Attribution, Non-Commercial).


The image above shows just how harmful traditional publishing can be to both the authors who write the work and those of us who want to read it or use it in a curriculum.

If you want to learn more about the importance of college-wide open access initiatives, click here for a succinct article on the subject. (Freely available, of course!)

Where Do I Start?

There are many websites that link to high quality Open Access journals and material. These are a good jumping-off point for course material research and discovery.

Scholarly Communication & Open Access: Learn more about Open Access, Scholarly Communication, and the services, workshops, information and resources we offer at SBU Libraries.

The Directory of Open Access Journals:
The DOAJ both indexes and provides access to "high quality" open access journals (currently over 10,000!). You can search for specific content or browse by subject, much like the library's catalog and traditional digital publisher interfaces.

The Open Access Directory:
The Open Access Directory is a wiki that is updated and maintained by the open access community at large. It is a compilation of simple lists and pages designed to increase organization and OA discoverability. Lists include blogs, courses, and educational materials about OA, among many others. Easy to browse, they serve as a jumping-off point if you are interested in learning more about specific OA components or materials.

Open Humanities Press: 
Open Humanities Press is an "international, scholar-led open access publishing collective whose mission is to make leading works of contemporary critical thought available worldwide." OHP publishes and provides access to both journals and books. Journals receive an extensive peer review by the Editorial Oversight Group, ensuring their validity and high academic quality.

SPARC - Open Access:
SPARC is an international organization of academic and  research libraries, working to create a more open system of scholarly communication and access to research and educational materials. Their page on open access is a helpful introduction to  the definitions and processes of OA publishing, and why it is important as digital research and libraries evolve.