25 October 2014

Open Access Week: Profile of OA Author

In this week's OA-related posts, I outlined various options for making works open access.  Today, I wanted to share the views of a forced migration researcher who is committed to making her journal articles more widely available.  Maja Janmyr is based at the University of Bergen, where she focuses on the legal aspects of forced migration.  She has kindly given me permission to reproduce her responses to my questions (links were added in):

How did you first learn about Open Access, and what has motivated you to make your journal articles Open Access?
- I can't really remember exactly when I first heard about this option, but I have long been engaged in the question of public access to research pursued with public funding. To me it seems only reasonable that the public has access to the research that their tax money has contributed to finance, and also that institutions in the Global South, perhaps with more limited means, are given an opportunity to engage with this research. This last point is particularly important in cases such as mine, where the focus of my published research has, amongst other topics, been Uganda and where I have collaborated both with academic institutions such as Makerere University and with research NGOs such as the Refugee Law Project. With OA, price and permission barriers are overcome.

Which of the following mechanisms is your preferred method for delivering Open Access to your work, and why? a) self-archiving/depositing eprints in your institution's repository or in another repository (like SSRN); b) publishing in Open Access journals; or c) hybrid OA (i.e., publishing in traditional journals but paying a fee to make an article OA). If you have used more than one mechanism, what are the relative pros & cons of each? 
- I have made use of the opportunity to deliver Open Access to my work through repositories such as Academia.edu and ResearchGate, and I have also published in traditional journals where I have paid a fee to make my articles OA. I have not yet published in a fully OA journal, but am strongly considering it for the article I am currently writing. Of all of these options, I believe that my personal webpage where much of my work is easily downloadable, is the option that has generated the largest outreach - these articles are easily found through search engines. [Note: Maja set up her personal webpage through Academia.edu.]

Does your institution have an Open Access mandate/policy in effect? 
- You can view the policy here.

Have you received funding from any groups that mandate Open Access? 
- I have twice received funding to publish my work Open Access, both times through the University of Bergen.

Finally, what advice would you give to other forced migration authors who are not yet familiar with Open Access?
- There are many good reasons as to why one should publish OA. I believe it is particularly important for scholars in forced migration studies, who often wish to target reader groups in a wide range of fields and across geographic borders, to make use of this option. The first and easiest step towards making your work OA is indeed to create a personal webpage, which also allows you to connect directly with more researchers working in your field. The publications which you deposit here will be available through ordinary search engines. The next step is of course to inquire about your institution's OA policy, and many universities have professional librarians who can assist in finding the OA option that best suits your needs.

Here are the links to Maja's two articles that were published OA with a fee:
- "Norway’s Readmission Agreements: Spellbound by European Union Policies or Free Spirits on the International Field?," European Journal of Migration and Law, vol. 16, no. 2 (2014)
- "Recruiting Internally Displaced Persons into Civil Militias: The Case of Northern Uganda," Nordic Journal of Human Rights, vol. 32, no. 3 (2014)

Many thanks, Maja!

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