Two roads lead to OA:
The golden road means publishing your article OA in a scientific journal.
The green road means offering OA to your publication in UTpublications, the University of Twente repository.
OA publishing: pros, cons and misconceptions
OA publishing increases the visibility and use of your research results (openaccess.nl).
Despite the growing number of OA advocates, misconceptions still exist. If you are apprehensive about OA publishing, read openaccess.nl’s list of OA pros, cons, and misconceptions.
According to VSNU (the association of universities in the Netherlands), “there are no disadvantages of open access to science. The transition can, however, cause some temporary practical problems. . . . As with any change, some practical problems can emerge in the transition phase, all of which can ultimately be resolved”.
OA publishing in a scientific journal: How to assess quality
Before submitting your article to any scientific journal (non-OA, hybrid, or OA), it is wise to evaluate the journal and publisher of your choice based on criteria for scientific quality, such as intrinsic quality of articles in the journal, scope and audience, selectivity, peer-review process, writing quality, editorial committee, and availability and visibility. Another quality measure is a journal’s impact. OA journals tend to have more impact than non-OA journals, simply because more people have access to them, so their visibility and use are higher. On the other hand, non-OA journals tend to have higher impact factors (the average number of citations to recent articles published in that journal, as presented in Journal Citation Reports), simply because these journals have been around longer.
Additional criteria can be taken into account when evaluating OA journals and publishers. As a rule of thumb, publishers belonging to the Open Access Scholarly Publishers’ Association (OASPA) and journals listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) tend to be more reputable. DOAJ is an online directory that indexes and provides access to peer-reviewed OA journals. At the other end of the spectrum, Beall’s list provides an overview of problematic publishers, or, in their words, “potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open-access publishers”. Finally, Quality Open Access Market (QOAM) presents journals and their quality scores based on academics’ experiences with the journal in question.
The above-mentioned quality measures are not meant as a harsh cut-off point, but as a starting point. You should always decide for yourself if the journal is suitable for your article.
OA publishing in a scientific journal: How to cover the costs
Publishers usually charge author-side fees for OA publishing. These fees are called Article Processing Charges (APCs) and cover peer review, manuscript preparation, and server space. Luckily, more and more opportunities are arising that let you publish OA for free.
Concerning publishing in an OA journal, several incentive funds are available, such as NWO’s incentive fund (if NWO funded your research) and the University of Twente’s Open Science Fund. Both funds are specifically aimed at stimulating full-OA publishing, and therefore only cover publishing in a peer-reviewed OA journal. As a corresponding UT author, you also receive a 15% discount when you publish in one of BioMedCentral’s or SpringerOpen’s full-OA journals, and a 10% discount when you publish in one of MDPI’s full-OA journals.
Concerning publishing in a hybrid journal, more and more publishers are signing national agreements with Dutch universities to stimulate OA publishing. As a corresponding UT author, you can now publish OA at no additional cost in selected journals from publishers Elsevier, Emerald, Karger, Royal Society of Chemistry, Sage, Springer, and Wiley. Openaccess.nl offers a comprehensive overview of these national agreements that stimulate OA publishing in hybrid journals, and a useful list of journal titles that are part of the agreements. Publishers are added to the overview once a proper workflow has been established. For information about ongoing negotiations between the VSNU and other publishers, visit VSNU’s website.
How to offer OA to your publication in UTpublications
This is also known as parallel publishing, because you are offering OA to your work that has already been published elsewhere. This increases the visibility of your scientific work.
Whether you choose to publish in a toll-access, hybrid, or full-OA journal, always upload the author version of your publication (without the layout of the publisher) to the university repository UTpublications. If you belong to the faculty EEMCS, upload your publication to the EEMCS Repository. If you belong to the faculty ITC, upload your publication to the ITC Repository.
Do not worry about costs or copyright: Uploading to UTpublications is free of charge, and the University Library will perform a copyright check. The latter is done, because some toll-access publishers demand an embargo period that may take as long as 48 months. During this period, OA to your publication will not be allowed. Once the embargo period ends, the University Library will grant OA to your scientific work. Other publishers do allow OA to the author version of your article, so always upload that version.
Do you want to know if you are allowed to provide OA to your article in UTpublications, and under which terms? Then visit Sherpa/RoMEO’s overview of publisher copyright and self-archiving policies. RoMEO categorizes publishers by colours that indicate levels of author rights. JULIET, their sister site, provides summaries of research funders’ self-archiving conditions.
For a full understanding of OA publishing, consult openaccess.nl. This Dutch national website provides information about the advantages of open access to publicly financed research, and offers practical advice to researchers wishing to publish OA.
For more information about OA publishing as a University of Twente researcher, teacher or student, please contact your information specialist.