The basics: about Open Access
Open Access means that research outputs are made available online at no charge to the reader, and that any restrictions on re-use are minimised. The aim is to give researchers, members of the public, and industry access to all the research they need and to give them the freedom to build upon research already carried out. Open Access applies to all digital material, but current discussions focus mostly on peer-reviewed research articles published in scholarly journals or conference proceedings.
The 'gold' route to Open Access consists of publishing in a journal that provides immediate Open Access on the publisher's website, often after paying an Article Processing Charge (APC) to cover publication costs.
The 'green' route to Open Access ('self-archiving') consists of depositing the final peer-reviewed copy ('post-print') of an article in an institutional or subject repository in parallel with conventional publication. Your deposit may be subject to a publisher's embargo.
Funders and publishers acknowledge three phases in the writing of a manuscript:
- Pre-print or author original manuscript: anything up to and including your final draft, but before peer review
- Post-print or accepted manuscript: the version that has been accepted for publication including any revisions or modifications made during the peer-review process, but without the publisher's formatting
- Publisher's version or version of record: the final version of the article as it appears on the publisher's website complete with formatting and pagination. The publisher's formatting is owned by the publisher, independent of the actual article content.
The benefits of Open Access
- Opening up access: Traditional journal subscription models meant that access was restricted to those who can afford to subscribe or belong to an organisation that subscirbes. With Open Access anyone can have access to research outputs.
- Higher citation rates: The Open Access Citation Advantage Service identified 70 studies up to 2015 on whether or not there is a citation advantage for Open Access articles. Most studies (46) found a citation advantage, in some cases of up to 600%.
- Increased access and discoverability: Your work gets more exposure and collaborators, researchers, practitioners and the public, both nationally and internaitonally, can easily find and access it without any barriers.
- The University's policy for open access to publications: Academic Board endorsed a policy in 2014 that requires researchers to add a record of all publications to SHURA on acceptance and to deposit a copy as soon as possible afterwards.
- HEFCE REF policy for Open Access: This states that for the next REF, articles and conference papers (published with an ISSN) that are accepted after 1 April 2016 must be deposited into SHURA within 3 months of the date of acceptance.
- Funders requirements for Open Access: For example, RCUK's policy on Open Access states that all peer-reviewed research papers that acknowledge RCUK funding submitted for publishing from 1 April 2013 onwards, and that are published in journals and conference proceedings, must be made publicly available through Open Access.
Last updated: 24 October, 2016