There are two main types of Open Access:
When published or pre-published works are deposited to a repository or online for free public use. Authors must have permission from the journal they are publishing with first. Examples of green OA include eCommons@Cornell and arXiv.org. The majority of self-publishing houses allow for self-archiving. Being aware of your copyright agreement before signing it is also important.
Gold: Publishing in OA journals
When works are published in an open access journal and accessed via the journal or publisher's website. Examples of Gold OA include PLOS (Public Library of Science) and BioMed Central. Sometimes there are author fees associated with this method, but not always.
Many institutions' faculty senates have passed an OA resolution. "An open access (OA) resolution is an agreement that quality research is valuable and deserves to be widely shared. Under an OA resolution, the institution provides a venue by which scholars can preserve and share their research (typically an Institutional Repository), and scholars agree to deposit therein, with fully retained copyright and publishing options. Sometimes, these resolutions encourage faculty to seek out open access journals as a publishing consideration also." Source: FSU
Passing a resolution illustrate the institution's commitment to open access to research. It can also increase the institutional and faculty reputation by increasing the visibility of the quality research done there.
Institutions that have passed resolutions include:
Authors should read their copyright agreements carefully, especially if they are interested in self-archiving. Copyright is a bundle of rights that have traditionally transferred to the publisher. However, as the author, you can work to retain these rights.
1) Find out what journals' copyright agreements are
2) Consider negotiation tactics and adding an addendum to retain more of your author rights
Ideally, authors would negotiate with the publisher to retain the copyright and all associated rights to their work. The author could still grant the publisher an exclusive license to:
Subsequent republication of the work
Reformatting of the publication (from print to microfilm or digital formats, for example)
The key issue with this is determining what are the minimum bundle of rights that the publisher needs in order to protect its investment in the publication. This will vary from publisher to publisher. Here is some sample language that can help.
If the you can't keep the copyright and must transfer it, still try to retain some rights. You can negotiate with publishers. Rights you might want to ask about include:
• The right to make reproductions for use in teaching, scholarship, and research
• The right to borrow portions of the work for use in other works
• The right to make derivative works
• The right to alter the work, add to the work, or update the content of the work
• The right to be informed of any uses, reproductions, or distributions of the work
• The right to perform or display the work
• The right to make oral presentation of the material in any forum
• The right to archive and preserve the work as part of either a personal or institutional initiative, e.g. On your web site or in an institutional repository.
• The copyright in every draft and pre-print version of the work.
The SPARC copyright addendum can be attached to a publishing contract. The addendum reserves to the author the rights that are of greatest importance.