The University Libraries is committed to making access to research more sustainable, affordable, transparent and open. Here are actions that individuals can take as authors, researchers and members of the scholarly community.

As an Author

Own your copyright

The single most important step you can take is to retain copyright in your own publications! Most publishing contracts ask you to sign copyright over to the publisher, effectively giving up rights to your own work. These contracts are often negotiable. Try using the SPARC Author Addendum. To learn more, consult the Scholarly Communications Office at the University Libraries.

Publish in open access journals

There are reputable open access journals in nearly every field. Find guidance and lists at Think, Check, Submit and the Directory of Open Access Journals.

Deposit your research in an open access repository

Open access makes your article easier for scholars to find, use and cite. The Carolina Digital Repository allows all members of the Carolina community to deposit, preserve and share their research output. Other reputable repositories for various disciplines include PubMed Central, arXiv, bioRxiv, SocArXiv and OSF Preprints.

The University Libraries is committed to making access to research more sustainable, affordable, transparent and open. Here are actions that individuals can take.

As a Researcher

Identify important content sources for your discipline

Begin a conversation with the librarian for your discipline about the most important content sources in your area. Even if Carolina does not subscribe to a given title, there are many ways we can get articles to you quickly.

Install a browser plug-in to find open access articles

Browser extensions such as Open Access Button and Unpaywall are free and legal ways to locate open access literature.

Ask a colleague

Many researchers are happy to provide a copy of their articles upon request. Sites such as ResearchGate and often facilitate legal scholarly sharing.

Get to know interlibrary loan

When Carolina’s libraries don’t have an article you need, we are happy to get it for you at no cost to you, and deliver it straight to your inbox. Learn more about interlibrary loan services.

As a member of the scholarly community

Prioritize quality research over prestige of the journal

Encourage your department and discipline to be clear about publishing criteria for appointment, promotion and tenure decisions. Learn about criticisms of journal impact factors are why they are a poor way to assess research quality.

Review your association’s publishing contract

Many scholarly societies and associations contract publication of their journals to large commercial publishers. Yet university presses, including the UNC Press, and other outlets may offer more favorable terms for authors, better deals for societies and more affordable pricing for institutions.

Transition your journal to open access

Consider working with your scholarly society to make its journal open access. Learn more in our guide and resources about transitioning it to open access.


Stay informed

The landscape of scholarly publishing and open access is shifting rapidly. Follow updates on, speak with the librarian for your discipline, or reach out to the University Libraries’ scholarly communications office. We are happy to come speak with departments, labs, committees, and other groups or individuals at the University.