Friday, 2 May 2008

Open Access

This responds to a question raised at a recent BURO training session about Open Access publications.

Open Access means broadly free at the point of use [1], wherever an end user has access to an Internet connection. Open Access can include many forms of publication but more commonly refers to material that fits accepted publication norms such as conference papers, journal articles, chapters in books or whole books. Here we are looking at journals articles specifically.

Open Access Journals are those that are free to the end user. The term 'free' requires some explanation. Something that publishers point out is that no scholarly publication is free. Costs accrue in refereeing, editing, preparing documents, writing articles and maintaining Internet access. In other words Open Access Journals apply a different business model. To perhaps over simplify there are two types of Open Access business model.

  1. those that recover costs by charging the author a fee - usually recovered from their host institution or funded as part of a research grant

  2. those that don't recover costs from authors but are subsidised or sponsored by institutions and organisations actively or passively through the provision of time equipment and so on

The Directory of Open Access Journals lists over 3340 titles.

A second route is to publish material in a pay for view journal, and with the publishers permission, self archive the article in an institutional or subject repository. Many publishers do allow this. The SherpaRoMEO website list publishers publishing policies. Dedicated search engines search institutional and subject repository content.

[1] Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI) definition of Open Access

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