Open Access: FAQ

Open Access University of Windsor with OA lock logo

Since the launch of Scholarship at UWindsor and the annoucnement of the Tri-Council open access mandate we have received a lot of excellent questions about the IR and open access more generally. This FAQ is intended to help to archive and address some of these questions. If you have questions that you think should be added to this list or would like to see addressed, please feel email Dave Johnston (djohnst@uwindsor.ca) or your liaison librarian.

(1) Why do we need an institutional repository when our research is available through journals?

(2) How will users discover my content in Scholarship at UWindsor?

(3) Can I put a copy of the final published version of my article in Scholarship at UWindsor?

(4) What is meant by post print or authors accepted manuscript?

(5) Do I require the permission of my co-authors in order to deposit?

(6) Won't making my work available openly in Scholarship at UWindsor mean that it is easier for people to plagiarize my work?

(7) What is Open Access?

(8) What is an Open Access Journal?

(9) Are there differences in terms of 'academic prestige' between open access and traditional, non-open access journals?

(10) What is the difference between an open access journal, and an open access repository like Scholarship at UWindsor?

(11) Many open access journals often ask for a significant fee from the author. Why is this the case?

(12) Are there any implications for publishing papers in these journals because they  involves payment on the part of the author?

(13) Are there any resources that can help assess the quality of an open access journal or avoid predatory publishers?

(14) What is the difference between an open access repository and sites like ResearchGate and Academia.edu?


(1) Why do we need an institutional repository when our research is available through journals?

 

  • Scholarship at UWindsor works to provide Open Access to Windsor research and this wider accessibility to academic research is really important. At this university, we are privileged to have access to extensive research in a wide range of fields. However, in many developing countries this is not the case - even at universities. Within Canada there are many people who are involved in policy making at different levels of government, for example, - or in the healthcare system, or industry who don't have easy access to important research. In many cases, these are the very people, who can help put theoretically based research into practice. Even univeristies have limits to what they can provide paid access to as well. Open repositories can help provide access to publications that fall outside of those subscriptions.
     
  • It enables Windsor researchers to easily comply with open access mandates such as the Tri-Council mandate. 
     
  • It is a good marketing/promotional tool that can be used to showcase UWindsor researchers and their work. Open Access can lead to greater impact and citations.
     
  • Long-term preservation is a real issue in the web environment. Publishers host journals but they have no real commitment to long-term preservation. With the larger publishers it is less of a problem because libraries and universities have been working with them for many years now to preserve their output, e.g. databases such as JSTOR or Scholar's Portal (OCUL). However, many smaller commercial publishers go out of business, their servers go down, and the information is lost. Even when there are changes in government or policy, for example, important documents get removed - never to be seen again. As it was in the print world where many libraries had copies of a particular article or report, so it still needs to be in the digital world - to ensure preservation. There needs to be a certain amount of redundancy built into the system to protect against a variety of risks -  environmental, commercial, political, etc.
     
  • Many of the larger universities now have mandatory open access archiving policies in place, e.g. Duke, MIT, Stanford, Harvard, University College London, most Australian universities. Also, many of the large funding/granting agencies now require open access archiving of research that they fund including Canada's Tri-Council. These policies necessitate institutional repositories. The motivation behind these policies is generally to provide wider, easier access to their own research - given that it is the universities that pay faculty salaries and the agencies that fund their research.
     
  • When research is made available through institutional repositories, it becomes more widely indexed (e.g. on Google Scholar), more widely read and used, and hence often leads to more citation - - which is something that faculty tend to be interested in for promotion and tenure reasons.

(2) How will users discover my content in Scholarship at UWindsor?

While some users will discover the content by accessing the site from our library homepage, more users will discover the content in Scholarship at UWindsor through Google and Google Scholar. Google Scholar in particular has become one of the most common avenues of discovery for academic works and Scholarship at UWindsor is optimized for full-text indexing in Google Scholar. Keep in mind that there may be a delay between when your paper appears in Scholarship at UWindsor, and when it appears in Google Scholar since Google Scholar is not indexed as frequently as Google. We also participate in national and international repository networks such as OpenDOAR and LAC.

(3) Can I put a copy of the final published version of my article in Scholarship at UWindsor?

In some cases, yes. This depends on the copyright transfer agreement that you signed when you published with the journal and on their general archiving policies. Many journals do not permit authors to host they final version of their paper in publicly accessible repositories. However in many cases publishers will allow you to host your peer reviewed author's accepted manuscript instead at NO COST. This is increasingly common. See our quick guide.

(4) What is meant by post print or authors accepted manuscript?

In most cases a post print is understood as the draft of an article that has undergone peer review and is the version of the article that has been accepted for publication. It may lack some of the final formatting and pagination of the published version, but is generally content-wise the same. This is different from the pre print which is the version of the article first submitted by the author for consideration.

(5) Do I require the permission of my co-authors in order to deposit?

If you have already transferred your copyright to a commercial publisher and you are submitting under the publisher’s self-archiving policy, then you do not need the permission of your co-authors. It’s good collegial practice to alert your co-authors, but you do not legally require their permission.

If copyright on the work has not been transferred to a commercial publisher (e.g. the work is unpublished, or published by an Open Access journal that allows you to keep the copyright on your work) then you must seek the permission of your co-authors before submitting.

(6) Won't making my work available openly in Scholarship at UWindsor mean that it is easier for people to plagiarize my work?

Because you work is available online it provides a clear record of authorship that is easy to find. So while it is technically easier to copy and paste from your work, it is harder for someone to pass off that work as their own. All of the rights that you retain as author when publishing with a journal or press are still retained by you when you host that work in Scholarship at UWindsor. Users are still under the same obligations to you as an author when they make use of your work.

(7) What is Open Access?

Open Access (OA) literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. OA is compatible with copyright, peer review, revenue (even profit), print, preservation, prestige, quality, career-advancement, indexing, and other features and supportive services associated with conventional scholarly literature. (Suber, 2012)

(8) What is an Open Access Journal?

A true open access journal provides free online access to all of the articles it publishes. This is to be distinguished from subscription journals that offer authors the option of paying an additional fee to make only their particular article available open access. These journals continue to charge libraries and users a subscription free to access the majority of their content and so cannot be considered open access journals. 

(9) Are there differences in terms of 'academic prestige' between open access and traditional, non-open access journals?

Like there traditional counterparts, OA journals are generally rigorously peer reviewed publications, some of which are prestigious and some of which are less prestigious. In principle the access model (traditional or OA) a journal chooses to use is independent of its quality. However it should be noted that at present time OA has taken hold more in some disciplines than others, and thus some disciplines will feature more well established OA journals than others.

(10) What is the difference between an open access journal, and an open access repository like Scholarship at UWindsor?

There are essentially two different routes to providing open access to a work. Publishing in an open access journal makes will provide open access to that article, but may come with an author publication fee. An institutional repository may host articles that were first published in traditional non-OA journals, however an article can only be hosted if you as the author retain the right to do so when you publish with that journal, or that journal provides a provision for repository archiving in its general copyright and permissions policies. The copy they allow you to archive may also be a post print (see 4) rather than the final published version.

(11) Many open access journals often ask for a significant fee from the author. Why is this the case?

Journals which use an author publication fee claim to so in order to maintain their operations as they do not charge subscription fees. However there are also many OA journals that do not charge a publication fee (many of which can be found in the Directory of Open Access Journals) since it is now much easier to review, edit, publish and distribute works through the internet. However, a larger publishing operation (like BioMed Central) which processes a higher volume of submissions and has additional operating costs may have to charge a fee to sustain itself. The cost of publishing a given article in this case includes not just the cost of publishing that one article, but also factors in what it costs manage the whole operation including processing and rejecting the many other articles that are not accepted. However, the OA market is still in flux and fees may look very different down the road.

(12) Are there any implications for publishing papers in these journals because they  involves payment on the part of the author?

It is important to note that an author publication fee is not the same as paying to have your work published without review. So there are no implications in terms of reputation or perception of the quality of your work. A good OA journal should still be a peer reviewed publication that accepts only works because of their scholarly value. One benefit to mention is that with an OA journal you will typically maintain full ownership of your work, granting the publisher a non-exclusive license to distribute. Traditional journals typically place much great restrictions on how you can subsequently use your work after signing their copyright transfer agreement.

(13) Are there any resources that can help assess the quality of an open access journal?

You can read CARL's guide here: predatory_pubs_primer-e.pdf

(14) what is the difference between an OA repository and sites like ResearchGate and Academia.edu?

There is an excellent guide produced the University of California below. However, to summarize some of the key points: Academia and ResearchGate are commerical academic social networking sites aimed at connecting researchers. They are not intended as platforms for open acecss to research. The do not support harvesting of content, long term preservation or satisfy open access requirements from funding agencies and institutions and often seek to collect personal information and require accounts and logins to access works.

http://osc.universityofcalifornia.edu/2015/12/a-social-networking-site-i...