Open Access Trends at UTRGV

Looking at the current state of Open Access buy-in, plus the opportunity to expand UTRGV’s research using pre-existing journal policies.

September 25, 2018

Pulling all UTRGV affiliated publications from Web of Science from 2016 to 2018, and using Unpaywall to determine the extent of those publications which have been made Open Access, reveals that between one-fourth and one-third of all recent UTRGV publications are available freely online. Some publications were in Open Access journals, others were the result of pre-prints and post-prints being submitted to institutional repositories by co-authors from other institutions. There were also submissions to prominent pre-print servers, such as These are labeled in the charts below in blue.

After gathering the number of Open Access publications, we went through the remaining articles and checked the publication agreements of the various publishers and journals using the data at Sherpa/Romeo. The articles that could not be made Open Access or that lacked a clear policy were labeled as “Blocked” (represented in the charts below as grey), and those that could, but so far have not been made OA are orange.

The chart shows the percentages of works that could be Open Access through self-archiving (also known as Green OA), by either archiving a pre-print or a post-print. The aim of this research is to have a starting point to begin to “close the gap” of the Possible OA (orange). For example, here would be a 5% increase of OA articles in 2019.

Another 5% increase going into 2020 would look like this:

Hopefully, the numbers for Realized OA for 2018 will be higher, but this is a conservative estimation of growth due to increased awareness of self-archiving options among faculty. There may be other funding sources that will allow faculty to publish in Gold Open Access journals that require Article Processing Charges (APCs) to cover the cost of making an article Open Access, which would increase the percentage of articles becoming OA. This projection is based solely on a conservative rate of growth coming from self-archiving alone, and there are no current barriers to making these works OA except perhaps the loss of pre-print and post-print versions by authors.

A few notes on trends: for self-archiving, many UTRGV-affiliated papers were housed either in, or in various institutional repositories (usually across Texas). Many other options exist, and can be explored on the Open Access guide.

If you have any questions about your publishing options, and how to make your publishing Open Access to increase its reach, please don’t hesitate to contact the Scholarly Communications Librarian at

This report was inspired by the Danish OA Indicator project: