Monthly Archives: October 2015

Spot the Difference: Open Access vs. Traditional Journals

What makes an open access publication different from a traditional one? In some cases, not much!

Outstanding Book

One of these things is not like the others.

Open access (OA) journals, books, and data are fully available to everyone online at no cost. This distinguishes them from traditional publications, which charge subscription fees and typically have to be accessed through libraries. OA journals reach larger audiences and the authors who publish research in them are cited more often than those publishing in traditional journals (see here), but often are not as well-established as traditional subscription-based journals. Many subscription-based journals have existed much longer and are better known within (and outside of) various disciplines.

Scholars have a host of things to consider when publishing their work, not least of which is the reputation of the venue they select. Subscription-based journals seemingly have an edge on OA journals in this area. Traditional journals are respected for their practices of publishing high-quality scholarship as a result of rigorous peer review and editorial processes. Can OA journals provide the same sort of quality scholarship that paid journals might?

Yes! Many open access journals provide the same thorough peer-review processes as subscription-based journals. A simple way to find OA journals that employ respected scholarly practices is by searching or browsing the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). The DOAJ was launched in 2003 as group of members ‘dedicated to quality, peer-reviewed open access.’ Many of its members are publishers committed to publishing rigorous open access scholarship, and publishers must apply to have their journals included in the directory. A basic requirement for inclusion in the DOAJ is a fully developed quality control system of editorial or peer review. You can find more information about the DOAJ’s criteria for listing publications here.

This means that everyone can have access to high-quality scholarship, and that libraries are able to provide even more scholarship to their users. Many libraries, including Copley, list high-quality open access journals right alongside their subscription-based journals. Though the way OA journals are funded may be different, their use of established practices for evaluating research does not have to be.

This blog post is brought to you as part of Open Access Week, currently taking place everywhere. For more information about Open Access Week and increasing public access to research, visit For questions about Open Access, scholarly publishing, or scholarly communication, contact Kelly Riddle, Digital Initiatives Librarian, at


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October is here!


When October looms on the horizons of your calendar, it may conjure images of jack-o-lanterns or the costumes you might wear for Halloween; you might be inspired to research some of the historical details of Columbus Day; or you might look forward (with delight or dread) the beginning of the pumpkin-spice season. For these reasons and so many more, Copley Library is the place to be this month.

Did you know that October is Information Literacy Awareness Month? Proclaimed by President Barack Obama in 2009, this month is an opportunity to highlight some of the best work of librarians: assisting people in navigating the sometimes very complex landscape of the information age. In his proclamation, President Obama focused on the need to evaluate information, especially as we are inundated from all sides with myriad opinions and perspectives. (You can find the full proclamation on the White House site)

October is also Theological Libraries Month, initiated by the American Theological Library Association to celebrate the libraries and librarians who support theological and religious studies research. You’ll find that religion is a theme that comes up repeatedly in October.

Here, then, are some suggestions (and tips for finding more) to put your information literacy skills in action and find some great sources for the month, religious and not!

For costumes, start with some research. The Complete Costume Dictionary can help with the basics, and offers some tremendous images.The Costume Technician’s Handbook presents more details about the construction of costumes.



Transition your costume research into knowledge about the history of the Americas, and the historical events marked by the Columbus Day holiday. If you’re interested in Christopher Columbus, the man, we look for primary sources associated with Christopher Columbus and his voyages, such as: Select letters of Christopher Columbus, with other original documents, relating to his four voyages to the New World, edited by R.H. Major, and the Journal of Christopher Columbus (during his first voyage, 1492-93): and documents relating to the voyages of John Cabon and Gaspar Corte Real, edited by Clements R. Markham.


1493: Uncovering the new world Columbus created examines the ramifications of Columbus’ voyages for commerce, agriculture, ecology, and more, the world over.


If you’re interested in images – of Columbus, pumpkins, costumes, or anything else October inspires – check out the ArtStor database. (The non-book images on this post are from ArtStor!)

So visit Copley as you plan fall festivities. Develop your Halloween costume with pinpoint accuracy; investigate the history and short- and long-term effects of Christopher Columbus’ voyage; and use our databases to search for images.


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