What Students Can Do

Girl studying

Open access benefits students as well as faculty. Listed below are steps students can take to use open access literature and even submit some of their own work.

  • Understand the difference between academic and non-academic resources. Many times, your professors will tell you not to use "stuff from the Internet" in your research papers. What they really mean is not to use non-scholarly materials. Though open access literature is distributed via the Internet, it is scholarly, peer-reviewed, and acceptable for your academic work. Using Google Scholar, OAIster, or other search engines that search exclusively through scholarly materials is the best way to ensure that you will find appropriate materials. If you are still unsure, the library has developed some criteria for evaluating resources that you can use to make your determination.

  • Find and read open access journals in your field. Reading the latest literature in your field can increase your understanding of the field and better prepare you for your career. To find open access journals in your field, use the Directory of Open Access Journals or the Advanced Search feature of Ulrich's Periodicals Database.

  • Make your writing available open access. Several student programs here at Texas A&M make their work available through OAK Trust (Digital Repository). All theses and dissertations are now electronic and are placed in OAK Trust (Digital repository) as their permanent home. In addition, undergraduate theses from both the University Honors Program and the Office of Undergraduate Research are available in OAK Trust (Digital Repository).

  • Understand your rights as potential authors. If you are planning an academic career, understanding copyright and what rights you will want to retain to your work before entering the field will be a huge advantage.

  • Show your support for Open Access. There are many ways for students to get involved in the open access movement. Texas A&M students can encourage the Student Government and other student groups to support open access through resolutions, events, and promotions. There are even Facebook groups such as Access to Research Now!, SPARC, and PLoS (Public Library of Science) that you can join.

To learn more about how students can take action to support open access, please visit SPARC's website, The Right to Research, which is designed for students.