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Publishing in Open Access (OA) journals is a great way to make your work available for all to read, and it has the added advantage of getting you more citations, views, and social media mentions.
What’s not to love about that?
In this challenge, we’ll discuss some advantages and drawbacks to publishing your work Open Access, and share tips on how to publish OA.
Open Access publishing has some great advantages to it, and also some drawbacks that are important to consider. Let’s break down some of the arguments.
We think that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks, especially given the pace with which academia is changing to embrace Open Access. But it’s understandable if you’ve got career concerns. Luckily, you can make your articles OA without having to publish in a lesser-known OA journal.
There’s more than one way to publish open access. In addition to the popularly-known “gold” OA route – publishing in an open access journal – you can also self-archive your traditionally published work (“green OA”) or pay a fee to a traditional, subscription journal to make your paper open access (“hybrid OA”).
Here’s what you need to do for each:
Gold Open Access
Gold open access journals make all of their articles open access immediately. There are many different business models for gold open access publishers. Some gold OA journals like PLOS Biology and Glossa require that authors pay a publication fee or “article processing charge” upon acceptance for publication. Many gold OA journals don’t charge a fee though (you can find hundreds of them by searching the Directory of Open Access Journals), and most publishers offer fee waivers for those who need financial assistance. With some careful planning, you can also cover gold OA publishing fees by writing the expected fees into a grant budget or by getting assistance from EMU's Faculty Open Access Publishing Fund. We discuss this in more detail below.
Hybrid Open Access
Some subscription journals will allow authors to pay a fee to make their paper open access, even if other papers in the journal are not. This practice is known as “hybrid OA” publishing. Hybrid OA journals allow authors to both publish in a journal that is recognized by their peers, while also reaping the benefits that open access publishing provides. But such fees can be expensive for authors, and the EMU's Faculty Open Access Fund doesn’t cover hybrid journals, because the Libraries are already paying hefty subscription fees to these traditional journals. If you must publish in a hybrid journal because of its perceived prestige, you can consider Green Open Access (more below).
Green Open Access
Green open access is the practice of publishing an article as you normally would in a subscription journal and posting a copy of your article on your website or an institutional repository such as DigitalCommons@EMU. It’s a popular option for those who can’t pay open access fees, but it has two major caveats: embargo periods and the inability to upload the publisher’s pdf of your article.
Often, publisher restrictions mean authors have to wait a year or longer to make their work available via green OA, leading to major delays in the dissemination of their work. And most publishers never allow authors to upload the publisher’s pdf. Instead, they allow uploading the post print (author’s final, submitted manuscript after all peer review and revisions, but before copy editing and layout) or a preprint (author’s final draft before peer review).
If you decide to go the Gold or Hybrid OA routes but need some help meeting the publication fees, you may have options.
Institution-Based OA Funds
Larger research universities sometimes have funds available for scholars who want to publish OA but can’t afford to pay out of pocket. The fund is sometimes based in the library, and other times it is stewarded by the campus research administration office. Often, there are restrictions as to how much assistance a researcher can request per year.
EMU offers assistance with APC charges through the Faculty Open Access Publishing Fund.
If you’re a PI on a grant, you can often write in expected publication fees into your budget. Or if you’re working with a forward-thinking PI, you might ask them to foot the bill out of their grant funds. Given that more and more funding agencies require public access to the research they fund, they’re becoming increasingly amenable to covering such costs. Check with your funding agency’s program officer for more information.
Some Gold OA publishers will waive their publication fees for authors who hail from developing countries or who can document financial hardship. Check with your publisher as to whether such waivers are available and what the qualifications are for applying.
This week’s activities are mostly planning for the future. Unless you’ve got an article in the hopper, waiting to be published, you’ll do the following with future publications in mind.
Try one or both of the assignments below.
Activity 1: Research Open Access journals in your field
The best place to start your research is the Directory of Open Access Journals’ listings, which includes only those open access journals that adhere to high quality standards.
Activity 2: Learn more about Open Access funding options
Familiarize yourself with the Faculty Open Access Publishing Fund.