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Planning for publishing OA

Here are some things to consider when making journal articles (and other content) openly accessible:

  • Think about open access at the beginning of any research project.  OA is an important element of the research world these days and should be part of the discussions from the outset.  Do not wait until the end of the research process to deal with open access.
  • In terms of OA journal selection, have at least first and second choices for OA journals in which to publish. 
  • Reputation is an important consideration when selecting journals. Questions such as "What is the audience of the journal?", "Where is the journal indexed?", "What is the impact factor of the journal?", and "How is the publisher to work with?", among many others, are necessary to ask about all journals.  However, there are a number questions that are unique to OA journals:

-Is the journal listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)?  While the DOAJ does not include all OA journals, it does list most OA journals.  Inclusion in the DOAJ should give a base-line level of quality.

-Is the publisher a member of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA)?  Like the DOAJ, not all OA publishers are members of OASPA but many are and membership usually indicates a certain level of publisher integrity.

-Is the journal or publisher on any of the lists at the Scholarly Open Access blog?  Usually referred to as Beall's List, this site is most well-known for listing what are termed "predatory" OA journals and publishers.  Note that there is some controversy about Beall's List.

-What is the amount of the article processing charge (APC)? (assuming the journal uses the APC funding model; many journals do not) Some APCs are high, heading into several thousand dollars per article.  Is this something that should be supported?

-What is the feeling among colleagues to the journal?  What is the discussion about the journal on blogs, websites, and online lists?

  • Include an amount for publication costs in all grant applications. $3000-$4000 is recommended.  This amount will cover most article processing charges (APCs) and may also be of assistance with paying for other fees (e.g. submission fees, page/colour/illustration charges), which are common with journals in some subject areas.  Note that the Open Access Authors Fund will only cover APCs, not the other fees.  Hopefully, money for publication costs will be granted; even if it is not or only a partial amount is give, including a budget line for such costs will tell the granting agency that this is an important consideration and should be addressed.
  • Be aware of open access mandates, especially funding agency mandates.  Increasingly, grantors are requiring that the results of the research they fund be made openly accessible, frequently within a 12-month window.  In Canada, the tri-agency OA mandate, involving the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), is effective beginning on May 1, 2015 and for the CIHR actually begean on January 1, 2008..  There is a list of open access mandates worldwide at ROARMAP: Registry of Open Access Repositories Mandatory Archiving Policies.
  • Don't forget that there are two routes to making material openly accessible.  There is the "gold" road, which involves publishing in OA journals, OA monographs, etc. There is also the "green" road, which involves depositing content in subject and/or institutional repositories, such as the University of Calgary institutional repository.  It is often possible to publish an article in an OA journal and place the article in a repository.  Alternately, if an author is unable to publish in an OA journal, it may be possible to put the article in a repository alone, making the article OA via the green road.  Most publishers are fine with repositories though sometimes an embargo is involved; there is a list of publisher policies at the Sherpa/Romeo site.   There are lists of open access repositories at the Directory of Open Access Repositories and at the Registry of Open Access Repositories.

Back to the Open Access Authors Fund. 

For more information, please contact:

Christie Hurrell, MA, MLIS
Digital Initiatives and Scholarly Communication Librarian
University of Calgary | Taylor Family Digital Library| 2500 University Drive | Calgary AB T2N 1N4
christie.hurrell@ucalgary.ca 
403-210-6103