Yesterday, we talked about ways you can “open up” your datasets. Now let’s do the same for your publications!
An open access approach to the dissemination of research and scholarly outputs facilitates the free exchange of information and worldwide communication of the University’s research and scholarship. Major national and international competitive research funding agencies have adopted mandatory open-access policies based on the expectation that publicly funded research outcomes will be made publicly available. The Open Access Guideline […] supports and promotes the dissemination of research findings in an international open-access environment through the lodgement of metadata describing research findings and/or post-print publications into the University’s institutional repository. – UON’s Open Access Policy
Publishing in Open Access (OA) journals is a great way to make your work available for all to read, and it has the added advantage of getting you more citations, views, Mendeley readers and Twitter mentions. What’s not to love about that?
And while publishing in Open Access journals is a really effective way of maximising your readership, it is also important to note that Open Access publishing is now mandated by certain funding agencies as it is seen as being in the best interests of all stakeholders involved. Open Access publishing of ARC & NHMRC funded outputs is now compulsory. Find out more about these policies from the Australian Open Access Strategy Group.
In today’s challenge, we’ll discuss some advantages and drawbacks to publishing your work Open Access, and share tips on how to publish OA.
Open Access publishing: wins and fails
Open Access publishing has some great advantages to it, and also some drawbacks that are important to consider. Let’s break down some of the arguments.
- More citations: Open Access journals can get you more citations, as numerous studies have shown.
- More readers: A 2008 BMJ study showed that “full text downloads were 89% higher, PDF downloads 42% higher, and unique visitors 23% higher for open access articles than for subscription access articles.” These findings have been confirmed for other disciplines, as well. And a recent study by Euan Adie at Altmetric.com showed that Mendeley readers were higher for OA articles, too.
- More altmetrics: The same Altmetric.com study found that Open Access articles also receive more tweets than toll-access journals.
- More access for those who need it: there are plenty of people who might need access to your studies – scholars from small institutions, researchers in developing countries and community researchers like activists, members of charity organisations and school teachers. One of the most commendable aspects of OA is the increased accessibility to research institutions and scholarly publishing for everyone, regardless of budget.
- Lack of prestige: It’s a sad fact that reviewers for tenure and promotion often judge the quality of articles by the journal of publication when skimming CVs. And unfamiliar titles in the publications list can sometimes lead to some serious career consequences. Article-level metrics can be an answer to this problem, though – a highly cited paper is still highly cited, no matter where it’s published.
- It can be expensive: many Open Access journals that have adopted the Gold model charge publication fees that cost anywhere from $75 to $4300, making OA publishing a non-starter for underfunded researchers. Gold Open Access is more prevalent in the US. The Australian market, at least for most of FEDUA’s disciplines, has really embraced Green Open Access.
- Your colleagues might not see your paper: if you publish in anything but the top journals in your subject area, chances are that your colleagues won’t be aware of your paper’s existence. It’s hard nowadays for your colleagues to follow all the new developments in your field, so if you choose to publish OA, it might take a little legwork on your part to get them to notice your article.
We think that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks, especially given the pace with which academia is changing to embrace Open Access. But it’s understandable if you’ve got career concerns.
Luckily, there are ways you can make your articles OA without having to publish in a lesser-known OA journal, let’s take a look:
Which Open Access approach is best for you?
There’s more than one way to be Open Access. In addition to the popularly-known “Gold” OA route – publishing in an Open Access journal – you can also self-archive your traditionally published work (“Green” OA) or pay a fee to a traditional, subscription journal to make your paper open access (“Hybrid” OA). Here’s what you need to know about each:
Gold Open Access
Many Gold OA journals like International Journal of Child Care and Education Policy require that authors pay a publication fee or “article processing charge” upon acceptance for publication. Not all Gold OA journals require a fee however, and some publishers offer fee waivers for those who need financial assistance. With some careful planning, you can also cover Gold OA publishing fees by writing the expected fees into a grant budget.
Green Open Access
Green Open Access is the practice of publishing an article as you normally would in a subscription journal, combined with the practice of archiving an accepted manuscript, which is then published on your website or an institutional repository and is available freely online. It’s a popular option for those who don’t want to pay Open Access fees, but it has a major drawback: embargo periods.
Often, publisher restrictions mean researchers have to wait a year or longer to make their work available via Green OA, leading to major delays in the dissemination of their work. As mentioned previously, Sherpa/Romeo guide is a great way to discover what your journal’s embargo policies are, or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Some subscription journals will allow authors to pay a fee to make their paper Open Access, even if other papers in the journal are not. This practice is known as “Hybrid OA” publishing. Hybrid OA journals allow authors to both publish in a journal that is recognised by their peers, while also reaping the benefits of OA publishing. But such fees can be expensive for authors and institutions alike, who may also be paying to subscribe to the journal. An uptake of 1-2% suggests that hybrid OA publishing isn’t a popular option.
While many publishers may not have a blanket Open Access policy they do sometimes allow OA publishing with a Creative Commons licence. Creative Commons is an international non-profit organisation that provides free licences and tools that copyright owners can use to allow others to share, reuse and remix their material, legally. Creative Commons Australia is the affiliate that supports Creative Commons in Australia and administers the Australian Creative Commons licences. Sound your publisher out about Creative Commons licences to see what their position is, or speak the NOVA team, who may be able to liaise with publishers on your behalf: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Open Journals System (OJS)
The UON library maintains and provides support services that aim to promote Open Access publishing within our research community. This is another option you might want to look into. OJS journals are hosted and managed here and are effective working models of open online publishing that are available to you. Some examples include Popular Entertainment Studies and International Studies in Widening Participation.
If you’re interested in learning more about OJS journals, contact Vicki.Picasso@newcastle.edu.au
Grant application budgets & fee waivers
If you decide to go the Gold or Hybrid OA routes but need some help meeting the publication fees, you still have options.
Grant application budgets
Open Access publication fees can often be built into grant application budgets including ARC DPs, DECRAs and LPs. Given that more and more funding agencies require public access to the research they fund, they’re becoming increasingly amenable to covering such costs. For example, costs to cover the “publication and dissemination of Project outputs and outreach activity” are allowed in the ARC DP and DECRA schemes. You should identify which OA publications you will be targeting and include an amount to cover the costs of at least one publication of this type each year (if appropriate to your field of research) and justify in terms of speed to publication and increased readership. Check for similar allowances in the funding rules and guidelines for other schemes to see if OA fees are an eligible budget item.
Some Gold OA publishers will waive their publication fees for authors who can document financial hardship. Check with your publisher as to whether such waivers are available, and what the qualifications are for applying.
Mapping your path to Open Access
The Australian Open Access Strategy Group (AOASG) has produced this great chart on Open Access journal options, which will help you get your bearings on the path to publishing in an Open Access journal and maximising your readership.
Note: You can also find out more about the how and where of publishing in Open Access journals in the University Library’s Open Access guide.
Today’s homework is mostly planning for the future. Unless you’ve got an article in the hopper, waiting to be published, you’ll do the following with future publications in mind.
- Research Open Access journals in your field: the best place to start is the Directory of Open Access Journals’ listings. You can also focus on Australian Open Access journals. This is a well-maintained, authoritative resource and is curated with quality in mind.
- Discover your Green OA rights and make your older research available: look up the journals where your most important papers were published on Sherpa/Romeo. Do they give you the right to self-archive your paper? If so, prepare for tomorrow’s challenge by locating your author final version manuscripts or ‘post-prints’ – don’t worry if you’re unsure of what these are, we’ll talk you through it tomorrow – in preparation for submitting them to NOVA where they’ll be made Open Access – a sure step toward increased impact!
See you tomorrow for Depositing your post-prints!