Open access elevates Iowa State research

Infographic on open educational resources

Graphic courtesy of University Library.


The University Library is expanding the reach and impact of Iowa State research via open access initiatives. From free access to academic publications, to data services and digital publishing, the library provides a suite of services to promote ISU research and scholarship around the globe.

Open access initiatives provide:

1. Financial support for publishing

Making your work open access can be as easy as choosing an open access publisher and hitting "submit." However, because open access materials are free to read, some publishers charge a fee to authors to recoup the publishing costs for that work.

To support the widespread impact of ISU research while also respecting author choice, the library has negotiated agreements and memberships with some publishers to help authors cover these open access publishing fees in academic journals.

The library can't make agreements with all publishers in the world. Luckily, there are other ways authors can share their work open access at no cost to them.

2. Platforms to make your work shine

Open Access Week
Oct. 23-29

"Community over Commercialization" is the theme for international Open Access Week. It encourages a candid conversation about which approaches to open scholarship prioritize the best interests of the public and the academic community -- and which do not. The library is holding a slate of events to celebrate; check out its calendar for details.

The ISU Digital Press is an open access scholarly press that publishes original, peer-reviewed journals, conference proceedings, monographs and textbooks. The press offers several publishing options to meet the needs of faculty, staff and student authors who want to share interactive or otherwise unique projects, in additional to the typical formats you might expect from a university press.

The ISU Digital Repository is a free platform for archiving and sharing online the collective scholarship of the university. With millions of downloads a year, Iowa State students and staff are sure to find an audience for their work, whether it is a thesis, dissertation, manuscript, conference poster, preprint or other scholarship.

DataShare, a data repository, compliments the ISU Digital Repository by providing public access to research data produced by Iowa State University. It supports open science and responsible research by sharing the data behind discoveries while meeting federal requirements for data sharing and archiving. It's the result of a partnership between the library and offices of the vice president for research and chief information officer.

3. Specialists to help navigate policies and learn new skills

Experts in the library provide hands-on support for researchers who want to ensure that their work reaches a wide audience. This includes:

  • Consultations and training for faculty, staff and students interested in developing new skills.
  • Support for reviewing data management plans for grant applications
  • Access to download counts to showcase the impact of materials published by the ISU Digital Press or shared in the ISU Digital Repository.
  • Copyright and embargo management for pre-prints shared in the ISU Digital Repository.

4. Innovative partnerships across campus

University library is a national and international leader in open access programming and support. These services and platforms are supported by key partnerships across campus.

The ISU Digital Press has won awards for its publishing practices, including a collaborative open textbook development with the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching. This partnership allows the Digital Press to prioritize best practices for publishing and support the pedagogical needs of faculty authors.

Before data sets are published on DataShare, they go through a review process to make sure the data is suitable and appropriate for sharing. The library's Research Data Services team and peers across campus collaboratively developed this process.

The Digital Repository works closely with the Graduate College to collect and share dissertations, theses and creative components. This partnership helps make ISU student research and projects visible online; nine of the top 10 downloaded items from the Digital Repository are a dissertation, thesis or creative component.

All these open access programs and platforms at the library work together to showcase the research being done at ISU to a wide audience, increase access and help the public learn from the expertise of Iowa Staters.

Get started with open access

Contact Abbey Elder,, open access and scholarly communication librarian, to make a plan for sharing your research and scholarship via open access.