by Madeleine Hatfield, Fiona Nash and Catherine Souch
There are two main strands of open access OA, both of which operate on electronic versions of publications, primarily in relation to journals: ‘gold’, where the author or their funder pays an article processing charge (APC) to make the publication freely available; and ‘green’, where publications are archived in a free-to-access repository, sometimes after an embargo period imposed by publishers, and sometimes as the pre-publication rather than final published version of an article.
In the UK, the main research councils (RCUK) have stated that all research funded by them should be made OA in one form or another; the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) have made a statement in support of all research being as widely available as possible, with OA requirements specified for publications submitted to the next Research Excellence Framework; and the EU Commission have also expressed strong support for OA. This follows the lead of organisations such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the USA, Max Planck Society and the Wellcome Trust.
Within OA journals, there are also differences in terms of the licences under which articles are made available. Funding bodies often include conditions on the type of licence to be used when publishing research they have supported, which can include allowing research to be freely used and adapted by commercial organisations. Most journals use the Creative Commons licences (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/).
There are many helpful resources for identifying OA and hybrid publications (subscription journals with an OA option), including searchable indices setting out different publishing models such as the Directory of Open Access Journals (http:// www.doaj.org/) and SHERPA/RoMEO (http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo/).
A challenge for many, though, is accessing funds to pay for the APCs to enable gold OA publication. Funders of research and universities, independently and through agreements with publishers, are increasingly providing funding for APCs, and for many institutions significant discounts on advertised APCs are in place. The situation varies from institution to institution, so it is difficult to provide generic guidance. As an author you should check with your institution (information likely is online or consult your library) to find out what resources are available to you and, importantly, to make sure you are fulfilling all institutional/funder requirements, particularly for depositing copies of accepted articles in repositories.
Research on OA differs in opinion about whether or not readership downloads and citations are increased by removing a subscription barrier. There are also questions around the quality and longevity of some OA journals. This area is evolving very rapidly so it is important to stay informed.
Publishing is a crucial, but sometimes daunting and unexplained, part of academic life. All academic geographers are supposed to do it, but there are few formal guidelines about how best it should be done. Many of us discover how to publish by trial and error or through the mentoring and support of colleagues. Publishing and academic landscapes also change, presenting new challenges to established academics. The publishing and getting read guides have four main aims: to provide clear, practical and constructive advice about how to publish research in a wide range of forms; to encourage you to think strategically about your publication profile and plans; to set out some of the opportunities and responsibilities you have as an author; and to support you in getting your published research read.
by Mark Graham
by Tom Pater and Gemma Johnson
By Kevin Ward
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