An Open Access Reminder

Open Access (OA) research is free to read, with none of the paywall barriers often associated with traditional publishers using a subscription publishing model.

By making research OA , authors can also choose to make their work more easily discover-able by text-mining software, give permission for readers to remix the original work, or build upon it (always citing the original of course).

OA research is more widely-read, and is cited more often than non-OA work.  The authors of the paper, ‘Monitoring the Transition to Open Access’ (December 2017) note that ‘OA articles are downloaded from publishers’ platforms on average between twice and four times as much as non-OA articles’.

It’s important to remember that OA can be achieved in 2 distinct ways: the ‘gold’ route, and the ‘green’ route.

Gold OA is that research published via an OA publication.  The publisher makes the research freely available to readers without cost.  This method often, although by no means always, involves author payment of an Article processing Charge (APC).  Publishers claim this covers the cost of publication, although average APC costs now stand at £2500 per article(!).

Green OA is research that’s been deposited in an OA repository.  This might be work that has been published elsewhere (most publishers allow repositories to upload the final, author-created version of papers, often with an embargo period), or it might be material that has not appeared in publication but is still of academic importance.  By making research OA via the Green route, authors meet HEFCE’s OA requirements for the next REF, and don’t need to pay unnecessary, expensive APCs.

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