You are here

Open Publishing Policies

Penn State Libraries Open Publishing Policies 


Penn State Libraries Open Publishing is the Open Access imprint of Penn State University Libraries. Open Publishing is committed to reducing barriers to learning and fostering equitable access to high quality educational and research materials for students, researchers, and educators everywhere. 

This policy covers general guidelines for publishing content with the Penn State Libraries Open Publishing program.  


Open access: The free, immediate, online availability of published content to anyone with internet access along with the content carrying an open license.   

Open educational resource (OER): A teaching, learning, or research resource that is offered freely to users in at least one form and that resides in the public domain or has been released under an open copyright license that allows for its free use, reuse, modification, and sharing with attribution.    

Publishing platforms: Digital spaces where content is hosted. Examples of publishing platforms used by the Open Publishing Unit are Open Journal Systems (OJS) and Drupal, but platforms supported may change over time.  


Values, Statements, and Scope of Services 

The following section contains an outline of the Open Publishing program’s values, mission and vision statements, and the scope of services the program provides, which are further detailed in the Journal Publishing Services Agreement and other publishing agreements. The scope of services and all other aspects of the program are shaped by the values, mission, and vision of the Open Publishing program.  


In addition to the Penn State Values and the Penn State University Library Values, Open Publishing adheres to the following set of values which describes both how our unit conducts ourselves as well as the standard for our publications and practices. 

Accessibility – We believe that all content should be available to and usable by everyone. 

Diversity & Inclusion – We strive to provide opportunities to publish content that is authored by diverse individuals on diverse topics, to provide services that are inclusive, to support projects that desire to be actively anti-racist, and to work with our editors and authors to support the creation of content that is without discrimination. 

Equity (of access/openness) - We believe that access to research should be available to all without barriers, either financial or technical, and without cost to creators or consumers of the scholarly content. 

Integrity & Professionalism - We believe that Open Access publications should be held to the highest standards of scholarship through mechanisms such as robust peer review, quality assurance, and promoting content accuracy. 



Mission Statement 

To provide and support digital platforms and publishing services for the creation and dissemination of high-quality scholarly publications that are free of cost and available to readers everywhere.  

Vision Statement  

To reduce barriers to learning and support equitable access to high quality educational and research materials for students and scholars everywhere.   


Scope of Services 

Open Publishing provides publishing support for digital journal, bibliography, monograph, open educational resources (OER), and topical web portal publications according to the values and policies outlined in this document.  

Service Eligibility Criteria 
  • Must have an editor, board member, or author (for monographs/OER) that is affiliated with Penn State (faculty, staff, student, etc.) 
    • If not affiliated with PSU, it must have some strong connection to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and justification for support because of that connection 
    • Should the affiliated individual leave Penn State after service of that publication has been established, the publication may continue using Open Publishing’s services.  
  • Content published must be free to read at minimum, and preferably utilize Creative Commons (CC) licenses, ensuring that authors retain copyright.  
    • All newly established journals need to use CC licenses, all other newly accepted journals must be freely available immediately upon publication without embargo. 
  • All publications must complete the appropriate publication proposal form, and have it reviewed by the Open Publishing Advisory Board prior to consideration for acceptance.  

Publishing Responsibilities 

The following core responsibilities for both Open Publishing and participating Editors and Journals are expected and required in order to uphold the commitments to our values and to provide the best support for our publications and authors. 

Responsibilities of Open Publishing   

Open Publishing shall coordinate publication services provided by the libraries under the following guidelines and as noted in the publishing agreements signed with editors or authors.  

  • Open Publishing shall work with Editor to develop a workplan that reasonably meets Editor’s needs for the Publication.  
  • Open Publishing shall support and maintain the digital platform(s) for all publications, should the publication wish to use them. 
    • For journals and other publications where authors are continually adding content, Open Publishing shall provide software for the submission, management and/or hosting of publication content and shall provide training to Editor on how to publish content. 
    • For all other publication types, Open Publishing will manage and support the publishing platform and coordinate the addition of content according to the workplan. 
  • Open Publishing shall register DOIs for published content as appropriate.  
  • Open Publishing shall provide Editor with guidance regarding abstracting, indexing, and discovery services to enhance the visibility of the Publication.  
  • Open Publishing shall list the Publication on the Open Publishing website and ensure a record for the Publication is added to the Libraries’ catalog.   
  • Open Publishing shall issue a press release on initial publication of the Publication.  
  • Open Publishing shall arrange for basic analytics for the Publication and provide guidance on obtaining additional analytics upon request.  
  • Open Publishing shall provide basic web accessibility training to Editor, or a person designated by Editor.   
  • Open Publishing shall not determine the content of the Publication or control editorial decisions relating to the Publication’s content. 

Note that additional services such as printing, copyediting, proofreading, typesetting, etc. are the responsibility of the editors or authors of the publication, unless otherwise discussed and agreed upon in the publishing agreement or publishing workplan. Open Publishing does not provide print support for publications but may provide guidance on where to obtain printing services. 

Responsibilities of Participating Editors and Authors 

In accordance with our value of Integrity & Professionalism, Open Publishing strives to ensure that our publications are held to the highest academic standards. As part of that commitment, we expect all Editors and Authors to adhere to the following responsibilities: 

  • All publications must follow well-detailed peer or expert review guidelines 
  • All publications should use DOIs appropriately 
  • Each publication should have a professional look and feel 
  • All editors/authors must ensure the appropriate rights or permissions are received for all published content 
  • All applicable publications must use author agreements (journal publications especially) 
  • Published content should be reviewed for consistency and accuracy, especially for bibliography and monograph publications 


Copyright, Permission, and Open Access 

Penn State has taken a strong stance regarding intellectual property, copyright, and open access. All our publications are freely available to view online and download. All copyrights are retained by individual authors, journals, or sponsoring entities, and almost all publications are licensed for use under a Creative Commons license.  

Open Publishing seeks to support and publish content that is as open as possible, and which does not restrict access to content behind a paywall. Open Publishing and its authors and editors agree that any supported publications will not operate as profit-seeking ventures. 

Additionally, Open Publishing: 

  • Favors publications that allow the copyright to remain with authors 
  • Requires editors and publication authors to be responsible for making sure that their publication adheres to copyright law.  
    • They must have a process for evaluating third-party content and ensuring it is labeled/cited correctly in the publication 
    • They are responsible for seeking permissions for that content, or ensuring their authors verify they have received appropriate permission. 
  • Requires publications to use author agreement forms as appropriate that require their authors to warrant that their work is original, contains no defamatory material, and does not infringe on the copyrights of others. 

Open Publishing, in collaboration with Penn State Libraries colleagues, provides consultations and support to publication editors and authors on how to make their publications as open as possible, including information about Creative Commons licenses, Fair Use, appropriate copyright statements, and author agreement templates.  


Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging 

As noted in our values of Diversity & Inclusion and Equity, Open Publishing aims to support editors and authors to make their content actively inclusive and without prejudice, both in terms of content as well as access.  

Additionally, Open Publishing supports the Penn State University’s Statement on DEI as well as the Libraries DEIA Commitment Statement. These statements express our dedication to advancing principles of diversity, equity and inclusion, and accessibility.  

As part of our dedication to equity of access, Open Publishing enlists the following procedures: 

  • No costs associated with Open Publishing’s services, either to publish or to read/access 
  • Open Publishing does not require transfer of copyright, and authors often retain copyright of their content 
  • Use of Creative Commons licenses whenever possible, and often required 

Because of our dedication to DEI, the following principles guide the practices of the Open Publishing program:  

  • No tolerance for discrimination at any point in the publication process, from Advisory Board proposal review to final publication 
  • Open Publishing is committed to supporting the creation of workflows to support editors in reviewing and ensuring content is inclusive.  
  • Should an accusation be raised of content in breach of our values of Diversity & Inclusion and Equity, Open Publishing will assist the editors or authors in the review process, as desired, and pull in Advisory Board support if necessary.  

Name Change Policy 

The Open Publishing Program recognizes the importance of inclusion in all aspects.  We recognize and are committed to honoring name change requests due to any event, including gender identity, marital status, religious reasons, etc.  

While it should be understood that Open Publishing cannot be responsible for making the decision to create the name change for the publications we host, we will encourage all our hosted publications to draft a name change policy and we will work with editor(s) to implement the name change across our publications, records, documentation, and our Catalog in as timely and thorough a manner as we are able, in accordance with the COPE principles.  

Accessibility and User Accommodations 

Open Publishing is committed to ensuring that our content is as accessible and available to all individuals as possible, as noted in our values above. 

In addition to Open Publishing’s commitment, we also adhere to Penn State's Policy AD69. This ensures that people with disabilities have an opportunity equal to that of their non-disabled peers to participate in the University's programs, benefits, and services. This includes those delivered through electronic and information technology.  

To meet these commitments, editors and authors must ensure the content of the Publication conforms to Web Accessibility Initiative Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, version 2.0 or higher. Additionally, as noted in the Journal Publishing Service Agreement, the Open Publishing Program will provide basic web accessibility training to the editor, or a person designated by the editor.   

We also provide an Accessibility Handout for Editors that outlines instructional guidelines for the various platforms and applications that we support including Microsoft Word, PDFs, Adobe InDesign, Drupal, and OJS (Open Journal Systems).  


Penn State Libraries and Open Publishing are committed to being good stewards of any personal information collected throughout the publishing process. To that end, the names and email addresses collected in OJS will be used exclusively for the stated purposes of the individual journals and will not be made available for any other purpose or to any other party besides the Journal and the Publisher. Personal information collected for non- journal Open Publishing publications will similarly be used strictly for the publishing purpose for which it is provided, and not distributed to other parties without permission from the individual(s). 

Each publication that collects user or author data will be provided with an appropriate privacy statement to include with their publication according to our commitment above. All editors will be required to follow the commitment in the privacy statement. Editors may choose to provide an expanded privacy statement, should they choose, and Open Publishing will be available to consult on the additional language.  


Preservation and Retention 

Penn State Libraries and Open Publishing are committed to ensuring that the intellectual content of projects remains available in perpetuity and strive to preserve published content according to current digital preservation best practices. This commitment includes making reasonable efforts to ensure that the Publication’s underlying files (such as in OJS) are preserved and that access to the Publication is provided. However, Open Publishing is not a long-term preservation service and cannot promise to preserve content indefinitely. Decisions around the future preservation of publications, especially those that will be discontinued, will be outlined in the publication’s workplan.  


Non-Compliance with Open Publishing Policies 

Penn State Libraries Open Publishing seeks to uphold standards of academic excellence, integrity, professionalism, and inclusion, according to our values and the policies set out for the program. To that end, Open Publishing reserves the right to remove any content that does not meet these standards or adhere to these policies. In every situation, Open Publishing will honor the role of the authors and editors of the publications we support and the review processes they may have in place for addressing non-compliance. Should escalation be necessary, Open Publishing will offer a review of the non-compliant situation by the Advisory Board. Refusal to appropriately address non-compliance in a timely manner may result in an escalation of the situation to a review by the Advisory Board, or in extreme cases, termination of the publishing agreement. In rare situations, Open Publishing may be compelled by another authority to remove content or parts of content. Should this situation arise, every effort will be made to notify the appropriate parties and work to find an acceptable outcome for all parties.  


Updates to the Policies 

This policy was last updated in January 2024. These policies are subject to change at any time. Updated policies will be made publicly available as soon as possible and efforts will be made to ensure that currently supported editors and authors are notified of policy changes when they occur.  

The Penn State University Libraries Open Publishing Policies are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.