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?
In this week’s challenge, we’ll discuss some advantages and considerations to publishing your work open access, and we’ll share tips on how to publish OA.
Open access publishing has a tremendous number of advantages, but it also has a few caveats that you may want to consider. Let’s break down some of the considerations:
We think that the benefits of open access vastly outweigh the drawbacks, especially given the pace with which academia and funders are increasingly embracing open access. Luckily, you can make your articles open access without having to publish in a lesser-known OA journal.
There’s more than one way to publish 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 do for each:
Gold open access journals make all of their articles open access immediately. There are many different business models for gold open access publishers. Some gold OA journals like PLOS Biology, Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications, Evolutionary Psychology, and Glossa require that authors pay a publication fee or “article processing charge” upon acceptance for publication. About 70% of gold OA journals don’t charge a fee though, 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 or by getting assistance from OU Libraries Open Access fund. We discuss this in more detail below.
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 recognized by their peers, while also reaping the benefits that open access publishing provides. But such fees can be expensive for authors, and OU Libraries OA Fund doesn’t cover hybrid journals, because the Libraries are already paying hefty subscription fees to these traditional journals. If you must publish in a hybrid journal because of its perceived prestige, OU’s VPR’s office has Open Access Support. And know that there are ways to publish in hybrid journals and still make your work openly available (again, we discuss in more detail below).
Green Open Access is the practice of publishing an article as you normally would in a subscription journal and posting a copy of your article on your website or an institutional repository such as AUrora. It’s a popular option for those who can’t pay open access fees, but it has two major caveats: embargo periods and the inability to upload the publisher’s pdf of your article.
Often, publisher restrictions mean authors 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. And most publishers never allow authors to upload the publisher’s pdf. Instead, they allow uploading the post print (author’s final, submitted manuscript after all peer review and revisions, but before copy editing and layout) or a preprint (author’s final draft before peer review). We’ll be covering embargoes, preprints, and post prints in more detail in the next two chapters of the OU Impact Challenge.
If you decide to go the Gold or Hybrid OA routes but need some help meeting the publication fees, you may have several options.
If you’re a PI on a grant, you can often write in expected publication fees into your budget. Or if you’re working with a forward-thinking PI, you might ask them to foot the bill out of their grant funds. Given that more and more funding agencies require public access to the research they fund, they’re becoming increasingly amenable to covering such costs. Check with your funding agency’s program officer for more information.
Some Gold OA publishers will waive their publication fees for authors who hail from developing countries or who can document financial hardship. Check with your publisher as to whether such waivers are available and what the qualifications are for applying.
This week’s homework is mostly planning for the next two OU Impact Challenge chapters (and for your future). Unless you’ve got an article in the hopper, waiting to be published, you’ll do the following with future publications in mind.
This guide is based on the "30-Day Impact Challenge" by Stacy Konkiel and used here under a CC BY 4.0 International License and the OU Impact Challenge which is also licensed CC BY 4.0. Many thanks to those authors for creating and sharing these materials.