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Open Access: OA at Union

Introduces Open Access (OA) and OA at Union College

Open Access at Union College

Why We Support OA

Schaffer Library advocates Open Access for many reasons. To name a few, OA helps solve the serials crisis, it facilitates research and teaching, it enables the benefits of a culture of sharing, and it advances economic and social justice by ensuring equal access to information. 

That said, we are aware of the complexities of OA, so we do not advocate it in all circumstances. Indeed, OA should be eschewed when:

  • it impinges upon privacy rights (such as with the publication of sensitive data).
  • it hinders tenure and promotion (such as when choosing between publishing in either a highly ranked toll-access journal or a lesser ranked OA journal).
  • OA's author-pays model (rather than toll-access's audience-pays model) is unaffordable. 
  • Etc.

How We Support OA

The keystone of our support of OA is our institutional repository, Digital Works. It is open to collecting the research and teaching outputs of Union College, which the depositor can make openly accessible should she or he wish; Digital Works is also available as a publishing platform for OA journals. 

Publishing in Digital Works has a number of benefits:

  • Increased visibility: The visibility of its publications are indexed in Google / Google Scholar and search engine optimized so that its holdings are almost always first page results when queried.
  • Citation Impact: OA publications may be cited more frequently than toll-access publications.
    • (That said, this claim is being debated by scholars, just as it is questionable whether frequent citation is a valid measure of research impact.)
  • Permalinks: Your publications will receive permanent URLs, so you can share them via your CV, website, etc.
  • Retain ownership and copyright: Publishing in Digital Works enables you to assert your rights as an author to openly share your research.
  • Meet funder requirements for OA publication.

For information on how to deposit or access materials in Digital Works, please contact


Our Institutional Repository, Digital Works, can publish OA versions of your research and teaching outputs. These outputs include:

  • Student Honors Theses
  • Article pre-prints & embargoed post-prints
  • Grey literature (e.g. presentations, lecture / field notes, working papers, etc.)
  • Open Educational Resources (e.g. lecture videos / notes, syllabi, lesson plans, assignments and assessments, etc.)
  • Data / Code / Digital Files

For the above, Digital Works can enable embargoes, provide permalinks, track altmetrics, facilitate discovery, concatenate related resources, and more. 

Journal Publishing

Digital Works can publish student and faculty OA Journals. We currently publish The Adirondack Journal of Environmental Studies and Ephemeris: the Undergraduate Journal of Philosophy.


Primo, the Schaffer Library search interface, links to a wide array of OA resources and offers an Open Access facet, which enables the searching and finding of OA resources. 


We support a number of Open Access initiatives through memberships and kickstarter grants