21 October 2014

Open Access Week: Option 1 for Making Your Work Open Access

As I mentioned yesterday, one way to make your work open access is by depositing it in an open access repository or archive ("green OA").  There are two types of repositories:

1) Institutional repositories (IR) aim to capture the research output associated with particular institutions, usually universities.
Example: RSCAS' Migration Policy Centre houses its publications within the European University Institute's research repository.

If you are not affiliated with an academic institution or if your institution does not yet have an IR, you can take advantage of worldwide repositories like OpenDepot or Zenodo.

2) Subject-based repositories (SR) seek to collect digital works within particular disciplines.
Example: The Social Science Research Network (SSRN) is frequently used by forced migration authors who focus on legal issues.

Repositories host all types of research output - conference papers, theses and dissertations, course materials, blog posts, multimedia, data files, and eprints of journal articles - both unpublished or published, unrefereed or peer-reviewed.  The practice of depositing digital materials into a repository is referred to as "self-archiving."

One of the best-kept secrets of scholarly publishing is that most journal publishers already allow some form of self-archiving of article eprints (pre- and postprints)!  What about copyright? Since a preprint is the pre-published, pre-referreed draft of a journal 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 after it has been accepted by a journal and undergone peer review (also referred to as the "Author's Accepted Manuscript"). Over 60% of journal publishers have given the go-ahead to authors to archive postprints; if one hasn't already, it very likely will when asked. (Authors can also propose modifying the publisher's copyright transfer agreement using an addendum.) 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."

At the same time, a number of conventional journal publishers do impose embargoes, or delays, before postprints can formally be made available to the public (not preprints, since authors maintain copyright over these).  Embargo periods may range from 6 to 24 months after an article is officially published.  In these situations, authors can still proceed with depositing their postprints and providing the requisite metadata to the repository. Even if full-text access is closed for a certain period, this does not restrict individuals from submitting requests to the repository for copies to be used for research purposes.  Once the embargo period has passed, access can be reset to open.

Some authors elect to bypass repositories and post eprints on their personal web sites.  This certainly works in the short-term.  However, the advantage of a repository is it can ensure persistent access to and long-term preservation of an author's research.

Self-archiving examples:
- A postprint of an article in the Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, deposited in a Norwegian institutional repository; this journal permits immediate self-archiving of postprints in institutional repositories, but imposes an embargo period of 12 months on self-archiving in other types of repositories.
- A postprint of an article in the Journal of Social Security Law, deposited in an Irish institutional repository; as indicated by the dates, access to this item was initially embargoed for 12 months, but the full-text is now available.
- A postprint of an article in the Journal of Vocational Education & Training, deposited in a UK institutional repository; as this journal imposes an 18-month embargo for social sciences & humanities journals, open access is restricted until December 2015; however, a copy can be requested by clicking on the relevant button.
- A preprint of an article in the International Journal of Refugee Law, deposited in the Social Science Research Network; IJRL only allows postprints to be archived after a 24-month embargo.
- A preprint of an article in European Union Politics posted on the author's personal web site.

- Use openDOAR to locate an open access repository.
- Check this list from the Open Access Directory for subject repositories.
- Read up on the benefits of repositories.
- Search in the SHERPA/RoMEO database for publishers' copyright and self-archiving policies.
- Refer to this FAQ for a detailed introduction to self-archiving.
- Learn more about author addenda from the Science Commons.

Tagged Events & Opportunities, Publications and Web Sites/Tools.

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