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Syracuse University Libraries

Architecture: Open Access

Books and other resources added to the Syracuse University Library collections

A Brief Introduction to Open Access

Open-access (OA) literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. What makes it possible is the internet and the consent of the author or copyright-holder.

In most fields, scholarly journals do not pay authors, who can therefore consent to OA without losing revenue. In this respect scholars and scientists are very differently situated from most musicians and movie-makers, and controversies about OA to music and movies do not carry over to research literature.

OA is entirely compatible with peer review, and all the major OA initiatives for scientific and scholarly literature insist on its importance. Just as authors of journal articles donate their labor, so do most journal editors and referees participating in peer review.

OA literature is not free to produce, even if it is less expensive to produce than conventionally published literature. The question is not whether scholarly literature can be made costless, but whether there are better ways to pay the bills than by charging readers and creating access barriers. Business models for paying the bills depend on how OA is delivered.

There are two primary vehicles for delivering OA to research articles: OA journals and OA archives or repositories.

  • OA archives or repositories do not perform peer review, but simply make their contents freely available to the world. They may contain unrefereed preprints, refereed postprints, or both. Archives may belong to institutions, such as universities and laboratories, or disciplines, such as physics and economics. Authors may archive their preprints without anyone else's permission, and a majority of journals already permit authors to archive their postprints. When archives comply with the metadata harvesting protocol of the Open Archives Initiative, then they are interoperable and users can find their contents without knowing which archives exist, where they are located, or what they contain. There is now open-source software for building and maintaining OAI-compliant archives and worldwide momentum for using it.

  • OA journals perform peer review and then make the approved contents freely available to the world. Their expenses consist of peer review, manuscript preparation, and server space. OA journals pay their bills very much the way broadcast television and radio stations do: those with an interest in disseminating the content pay the production costs upfront so that access can be free of charge for everyone with the right equipment. Sometimes this means that journals have a subsidy from the hosting university or professional society. Sometimes it means that journals charge a processing fee on accepted articles, to be paid by the author or the author's sponsor (employer, funding agency). OA journals that charge processing fees usually waive them in cases of economic hardship. OA journals with institutional subsidies tend to charge no processing fees. OA journals can get by on lower subsidies or fees if they have income from other publications, advertising, priced add-ons, or auxiliary services. Some institutions and consortia arrange fee discounts. Some OA publishers waive the fee for all researchers affiliated with institutions that have purchased an annual membership. There's a lot of room for creativity in finding ways to pay the costs of a peer-reviewed OA journal, and we're far from having exhausted our cleverness and imagination.

For a longer introduction, with live links for further reading, see my Open Access Overview,

Author: Peter Suber


Open content is expanding to new forms like textbooks. One of the richest areas of open content though is the institutional repository where the institution manages and disseminates the digital scholarship of its faculty, staff and students. The institution – and more recently often the library- preserves and distributes the scholarly, professional, scientific and creative output of its community. Generally the output is full-text and may be multi-media. Often included are dissertations, masters theses, capstone papers, and honors theses. Many institutions have found that adding this type of content enhances the reputation of the institution. Faculty work may include periodical articles (generally pre or post print), book chapters, conference presentations or exhibition material. The content of the repository is usually searchable by department, author and keyword. For faculty, benefits include quick and easy dissemination, discoverability, more usage and improved impact. 

So please explore the rich content the Open Access initiative provides by checking out the list of Open Access Repositories in North America as provided to the left.

University and College Repositories with Architecture Content

Andrews University

Arizona State University

Auburn University

Ball State University

Boston Architectural College 1 – Boston Architectural College 2

California Polytechnic State University

California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

Carnegie Mellon University

Clemson University 1- Clemson University 2 – Clemson University 3 – Clemson University 4

Columbia University 1 – Columbia University 2

Cornell University

Florida Atlantic University

Florida International University

Georgia Institute of Technology

Harvard University

Illinois Institute of Technology

Kent State University

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

McGill University

Mississippi State University

Montana State University – Bozeman

New Jersey Institute of Technology

North Carolina State University

North Dakota State University

Ohio State University

Princeton University

Rhode Island School of Design

Roger Williams University

Ryerson University 1  –  Ryerson University 2

Syracuse University

Washington University in St. Louis

University of Arizona

University of Arkansas

University at Buffalo –(Dissertations and Theses Only)

University of British Columbia

University of California, Berkeley 1 – University of California, Berkeley 2

University of California, Los Angeles 1 – University of California, Los Angeles 2

University of Colorado

University of Colorado Boulder

University of Idaho

University of Illinois

University of Kansas

University of Massachusetts Amherst

University of Memphis

University of Michigan

University of Minnesota

University of Nebraska – Lincoln

University of New Mexico

University of Notre Dame

University of Oklahoma – Arch Open Access Started

University of Southern California 1 – University of Southern California 2

University of South Florida

University of Texas at Arlington

University of Texas at Austin

University of Toronto

This is a preliminary list of open access institutional repositories in North America with architectural content. Please send additions or corrections to Barbara Opar at

Open Access Week