25 October 2011

Open Access Week: OA Option #1 for Authors

The advantages of Open Access accrue to both authors and their readers. The former gain greater visibility and research usage, the latter gain immediate, free and unfettered access to scholarly studies. For both, the potential result is to achieve impact in the form of beneficial changes to forced migration policy and practice.

As noted in the resources listed in yesterday's post and in my FMR article, there are two primary vehicles for delivering OA. The focus of this post is "self-archiving," an action that authors can take to provide access to eprints (pre- or postprints) of their research articles. What about copyright? Since a preprint is the pre-published, pre-referreed draft of an article, the author holds copyright over this version and does not need to seek permission to archive it. A postprint is the version of an article that has been accepted by a journal and has undergone peer review. Many journals have already given the go-ahead to authors to archive postprints; if one hasn't already, it very likely will when asked. Therefore, as this handout points out, "Don’t assume that publishing in a conventional or non-OA journal forecloses the possibility of providing OA to your own work --on the contrary" (emphasis added).

Where should an eprint be archived? Since many authors are academics, the first place to consider is the institutional repository (IR) established by your university. Check with your library or search the Directory of Open Access Repositories (OpenDOAR) to find out if your institution has a repository. A growing number of universities are also mandating that their scholarly output be archived; ROARMAP tracks this information.

If your institution does not have its own repository or if you are not an academic researcher, you can still archive your eprints in a disciplinary repository like the Refugee Research Network (RRN), Forced Migration Online (FMO) or the Social Science Research Network (SSRN). Others are listed here.

For some examples of colleagues who self-archive, here's a random selection of eprints that I've posted on this blog in the past:
- Easterly, William & Claudia R. Williamson, "Rhetoric versus Reality: The Best and Worst of Aid Agency Practices" (published in World Development)
- Fraser, Helen, "The role of ‘educated native speakers’ in providing language analysis for the determination of the origin of asylum seekers" (published in International Journal of Speech Language and the Law)
- McAdam, Jane, "Swimming Against the Tide: Why a Climate Change Displacement Treaty is Not the Answer" (published in International Journal of Refugee Law)
- Millbank, Jenni & Catherine Dauvergne, "Forced Marriage and the Exoticization of Gendered Harms in United States Asylum Law" (forthcoming in Columbia Journal of Gender and Law)
- Nine, Cara, "Ecological Refugees, State Borders, and the Lockean Proviso" (published in Journal of Applied Philosophy; note that the full-text of this article is free via the journal publisher)

And self-archiving doesn't need to be limited to journal articles:
- Messineo, Francesco, "Non-Refoulement Obligations in Public International Law: Towards a New Protection Status?" (forthcoming in Research Companion to Migration Theory and Policy)

So are you ready to self-archive? If you still aren't sure, here's a post I prepared for Open Access Week 2009 which describes my initial experience with self-archiving. If you are, then please pass on a URL for me to post when you're done!

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