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Scholarly Communication

Resources for scholarly publishing, author rights and maximizing the impact of your research.

Do Open Access Articles Count Toward Promotion and Tenure?

Dominican requires publication in peer-reviewed journals (among other publication options) for promotion and tenure.  There are thousands of open access peer-reviewed journals in which you can publish to meet the requirement.  Peer-review is not dependent on a journal’s medium of publication or open access policy.  Just as a subscription-based journal may be peer-reviewed or not, and may be available online, in print, or both, so too with open access publications.

See the Directory of Open Access Journals for a list of such journals and their peer-review or other quality-control processes.

Some traditional, subscription-based publishers offer an author-pay system through which you can pay to make your article open access.  The fee can be written into your research grant proposal.  Some funding agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health, require the authors it funds to publish in its open access repository.  Other journals are hybrid, meaning some, but not all, of their articles are open access.  Also, a publisher may stipulate an embargo during which it controls the distribution rights and after which an article becomes open access.

Do Open Access Journals Have High Impact Factors?

Some open access journals, such as those from the Public Library of Science (PLoS) and BioMed Central (BMC), are already at the top of their field in terms of impact factors.  Others are building their reputations, just as print publications built their reputations in their initial publishing stages.  Publish or Perish lists other citation metrics used to determine the impact of a journal, article, or author.

Will Publishing An Open Access Article Negatively Impact My Promotion and Tenure Review?

It will not negatively impact your review and, in fact, may even positively impact it.  Making your scholarship open access through a journal and/or in Constellation gives more researchers the ability to see and use it, and may lead to increased citation rates and new collaborative projects.  Many items in Constellation have been previously published in a peer-reviewed journal, fulfilling the promotion and tenure requirement.

There are, however, some questionable, even predatory, open access publishers whose policies and procedures you should carefully review before publishing with them.  Several resources can help you determine if you should publish with such journals:

Nature article : Investigating journals: The dark side of publishing, March 2013  

Questionable journals list from academic librarian, Jeffrey Beall

Criteria for Determining Predatory Open-Access Publishers from Jeffrey Beall

Am I Ever Required To Publish Open Access?


Many government agencies have policies that require funding recipients to make the results of their research open access.  More and more universities are adopting policies that stipulate their faculty, unless they opt out, to make copies of their research available through an institutional or other open access repository.

Government Agencies
In 2008, the first open access mandate for government-funded research was established at the National Institutes of Health.

"The NIH Public Access Policy ensures that the public has access to the published results of NIH funded research. It requires scientists to submit final peer-reviewed journal manuscripts that arise from NIH funds to the digital archive PubMed Central upon acceptance for publication.  To help advance science and improve human health, the Policy requires that these papers are accessible to the public on PubMed Central no later than 12 months after publication."  (

"There are four methods to ensure that an applicable paper is submitted to PubMed Central (PMC) in compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy.  Authors may use whichever method is most appropriate for them and consistent with their publishing agreement." 

In January, 2014, an open access mandate on government-funded research was expanded to include the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and Labor.

The Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA) - a bill that if passed would have required government agencies with budgets of at least $100 milltion to share the results of research they fund to be made available open acces - was introducted in Congress several times. 

FRPAA is succeeded by FASTR, The Fair Access to Science and Technolog Research Act.  Learn more about the Act and how you can support it.

In 2008, the undergraduate faculty at Harvard University voted to make their research available open access, unless one opts out.  It is important to note that this mandate was initiated and adopted by the faculty and not university administrators.  The Open Access Directory maintains a list of unanimous faculty votes at universities across the country to adopt open access mandates.


Bibliography of E-Publishing