22 October 2009

Open Access Week: Scholarly Journals and Self-Archiving

As noted in my first post this week, the open access movement was spawned in large part as a reaction to increasing subscription costs to scholarly journals. The high prices were seen as leading to less access to research over time, particularly in developing countries. One solution has been to create new vehicles for disseminating research results (e.g., OA journals). But what can authors do to provide access to their research when so much of it continues to be published in subscription-based journals?

One option is for authors to use the RoMEO service, provided by SHERPA, to learn what a publisher's policy is regarding the deposit of their journal articles in OA repositories. RoMEO assigns colors to each publisher to summarize their archiving policies:
  • green = "can archive pre-print and post-print or publisher's version/PDF"
  • blue = "can archive post-print (ie final draft post-refereeing) or publisher's version/PDF"
  • yellow = "can archive pre-print (ie pre-refereeing)"
  • white = "archiving not formally supported"
According to eprints, over 90% of journals allow some form of self-archiving. This means that authors can proceed with depositing some version of their articles without fear that they are violating copyright. And as this article reports, "Self archiving is not a very time-consuming investment for the user... – about 10 minutes per paper, or just over a half-hour for a year’s total research output." In the end, it's a win-win: users gain access to important research, authors disseminate their studies more widely.

For more information, see the Self-Archiving FAQ.

Another option for authors is to pay a fee for readers to have open access to their articles through the subscription journals themselves. As this table indicates, the access fees per article can be substantial. Generally, though, they are paid for by an author's employer or a funding body. The Journal of Refugee Studies (JRS) is one of the journals included in Oxford University Press' (OUP) "Oxford Open" programme. However, looking through titles published in the 2000s, only one author appears to have participated.

As a quick reference for forced migration authors, I have put together a table that lists commercial journals important to the forced migration field, their subscription rates, cost of a single article, free content that they offer, their RoMEO color, and paid access options, if offered.

Tagged Periodicals and Web Sites/Tools.

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