What is Open Access?
Open access refers to the provision of free, immediate, online access to research, which is also free of most copyright and licensing restrictions.
For those who wish to explore the concept, a good introduction is provided by Peter Suber.
Benefits of Open Access
There are 2 routes for authors to publish their work as open access:
- Author publishes in open access journals, hybrid journals, open access books
- Publishing tends to involve paying a fee (‘article processing charge’ APC)
- The research output is made available immediately to anyone and they do not need to pay a fee to access it
- Author deposits a copy of their article (usually the author accepted manuscript or post-print) in an institutional or subject repository (e.g. WIRE)
- There is no cost to the author or funder
- The research output is made available after an embargo period
Your funder may also have specific open access requirements. Check Sherpa Juliet for details of funders’ conditions for open access publication.
You can check the Directory of Open access Journals to see if a journal is open access.
Funder Open access policies
Many funders require funded published outputs to be made open access. A number of individual funder requirements can be found below. Remember to check the terms and conditions of your grant to make sure you are complying with your funder’s OA policy.
More funder OA requirements can be found on Sherpa Juliet
What is an Article Processing Charge (APC)?
An article processing charge is the fee that publishers of some open access journals charge in order to publish articles. APCs are usually paid by the author, their institutions or funding bodies that fund the author(s) work.
The University of Wolverhampton has no central fund for APC charges so the cost of APCs must currently be borne by the author or their funders. APCs vary considerably-from less than £100 to over £3000. For this reason it is important that authors make use of the opportunity to deposit their research output in WIRE, the institutional repository, which is free to use.
Where to publish
Information on what to publish and where to publish it (including details on publishing conference papers, journal articles and books) can be found in the guidance provided by the Library Liaison team and can be found on the Publishing and Sharing Research page.
How to spot reputable publishers
Open access online publishing has many benefits, but it has also allowed new publishers to enter the market that do not apply sufficient rigour and quality control to the output they publish. Such publishing is sometimes referred to as ‘predatory publishing’-these publishers typically send spam e-mails to potential authors, solicit submissions and request payment of APCs but they do not have the scholarship and academic rigour of reputable peer-reviewed journals.
It isn’t always easy to spot predatory journals so care needs to be taken when selecting a journal for publication. The Journal Quality Indicator tool developed by the Library Liaison team can be used to make an informed assessment of the quality of the journal you are considering publishing in.
Other helpful aids for checking the quality of journals and conferences:
This tool provides a checklist of questions to help researchers identify trusted journals.
This tool provides a checklist to help researchers identify trusted conferences and a conference checker tool.
Copyright and licenses
Open access content is made available under various copyright licences, which define how material can be used, shared and adapted. Licences may be determined by authors, publishers or funders.
Most open access publications are made available through Creative Commons licences. There are six main licences which specify the conditions for sharing, using and adapting works, details of which can be found on the Creative Commons website.
You can check publishers’ open access conditions, including licences, on Sherpa Romeo or on the websites of individual journals.
Your funder may have specific licensing requirements which will need to be applied when you share your research outputs. Check your funder’s licensing requirements on Sherpa Juliet.
What is Open Research?
Open research (also known as ‘open science’) refers to the principle of all aspects of the research process being open and accessible. This includes results, data, protocols and other aspects of the research process. Open research is collaborative, transparent, reproducible and publicly available, and embodies the principle that research brings most benefits the more widely it is shared.
The University’s Open Research Statement provides aspirational best practice for researchers, who aim to benefit from using more open methods of research, by providing guidance on open access, open data, open platforms and open research processes.
Both the university’s Open Access Publications Policy and Research Data Management policies support the principles of open research.
Further information and Support
For further information and support with open access, please contact the Scholarly Communications Team: WIRE@wlv.ac.uk
We can offer one-to-one support to assist with any open access needs. To book an appointment contact us at the e-mail address above.