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Health Sciences Scholarly Communication

What is Open Access?

Open Access (OA) literature is freely available online, and may also be free of copyright and licensing restrictions.  Articles free of permission barriers are typically accompanied by a Creative Commons License, which dictates the different alteration and reuse options.  The Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities provides a more detailed definition of OA.

Watch the videos below to learn more about OA and its impact on healthcare.

Open Access Registries & Directories

 Lists and indexes of OA resources.

Open Access Resources

Search the following resources for free full text articles, theses, and dissertations.

Open Access Repositories

Repositories allow you to upload and share your work with others.  They may be institutional or discipline specific.

To get started, the Harvard Open Access Project provides a guide on How to Make Your Own Work Open Access.

How Can I Pay to Publish in an Open Access Journal?

Open Access journals fall into two categories: fee based and no fee journals. In cases of fee based journals either the author, the author's institution or the source of the author's research funding pays to cover the cost of publication.

Researchers are encouraged to consider open access options at the beginning of their projects in order to set aside and ensure funding for eventual publication.

Discounts and funding opportunities that are available to USC affiliates are listed on the Transformative Agreement Guide.

In the health-sciences specifics, USC has an institutional fellowship for BMJ Case Reports that provides USC researchers with a discount. Please contact USC Libraries at for the institutional fellowship code. 

Avoiding Predatory Publishers

The following resources can be useful in assessing the integrity of OA publications and publishers.

The Publisher's Website Evaluation Tool (see checklist below) is sourced from the following article. See article appendix for additional evaluation tools. Emme Lopez & Christine S. Gaspard. (2020). Predatory publishing and the academic librarian: Developing tools to make decisions. Medical Reference Services Quarterly, 39(1), 1-14