Publishing Decisions Affect Author Impact

Publication choices create a cascade of consequences affecting not only authors, but also colleagues, research institutions, and scientific disciplines. Copyright can be managed to the best advantage of all stakeholders by using Open Access (OA) methods and tools to increase citation counts, permit classroom use and global availability, and use of current health research. By definition, OA literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions

Denise Troll Covey, principal librarian for Special Projects at Carnegie Mellon University, carried this message to Pitt authors during her Open Access Week presentation, “Author Rights and Publishing Today: What You Should Know and Why You Should Care,” sponsored by the HSLS on October 26.

Audience questions indicated a particular interest in ways to locate copyright policies for specific journals and publishers. According to Covey, an authoritative source for such information is SHERPA/RoMEO. Covey also addressed how to assess the quality of Open Access journals in light of the recent epidemic of “predator” start-up journals. She advises authors to check the journal’s Web site and editorial board before submitting work to new journals. Reputable OA journal publishers include the American Physical Society, BioMedCentral, Oxford University Press, Public Library of Science, SAGE, Springer, and Wiley.

You can search or browse for OA journals using the global Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). DOAJ contains over 7,200 peer-reviewed, full-text Open Access journals in scientific and scholarly subjects, with more than 1,100 in the health sciences and biology subject categories. DOAJ can also be used to search for articles published in journals in the database.

As summarized in the Report of the University of Pittsburgh’s Open Access Task Force, the benefits of Open Access include increased global visibility and discoverability of the research output of the University and its faculty; dissemination of research results within and beyond the academic community; and demonstration of the high level of research conducted at the University.

For more information about Open Access and the NIH Public Access Policy for the Health Sciences, please see the HSLS NIH Public Access Policy Web page, or contact Andrea Ketchum at 412-648-9757 or

~ Andrea Ketchum