In July 2012, the UK government accepted recommendations made in the Finch Report. Since then, Research Councils UK has responded, developing and implementing a new Open Access policy, with an associated funding mechanism.
It is important that you check what the requirements of your funding body are, as it may affect which journal you select for publishing. The conditions that some journals place on open access might clash with criteria set by funding bodies. There is a database tool called SHERPA/FACT that may assist you in checking this.
What is Open Access?
- Free online access to publicly-funded research (specifically journal articles and conference papers)
- Less restrictive copyright and licensing issues
Why should we do it?
- Publicly-funded research will be visible to tax payers
- Wider access to research (no longer just university-affiliated individuals benefiting from journal subscriptions)
- Increased visibility and impact
- Increased freedom of use and opportunities for collaboration.
- Open Access enables data mining.
Gold: Pay an article processing charge (APC) to have immediate open access to the print-ready article on the publisher’s website. Journals may be fully open access or hybrid, where only paid-for articles are open access.
The bad news: APCs can be prohibitively expensive and institutions risk paying twice (APC and subscription fees)
Green: No charge for article publication. Publish in subscription journal as normal, but deposit or self-archive the accepted manuscript/post-print/author version of the article in an open-access repository, e.g. the Oxford Research Archive. Check the journal’s policy on conditions for deposit first.
The bad news: Publishers may place restrictions on copyright/licensing, e.g. embargo periods (which can be impractically lengthy).
University of Oxford’s position
First and foremost Oxford is committed to maintaining academic freedom of choice. Read the University’s OA statement.
- The University supports the Green route wherever this is possible as it is more economically viable.
- However, it also facilitates the Gold route where necessary. More information on how to apply for funds from Oxford’s RCUK Open Access block grant.
How to decide where to publish
- Check the Directory of Open Access Journals
- Check the SHERPA/FACT database to see if/how your funder’s policy matches with your chosen journal’s policy
- Opt for a journal that offers Green route if there is no academic reason for choosing Gold
More information & useful links
- Open Access Oxford
- Directory of Open Access Journals
- SHERPA/FACT – check funder/journal compatibility
- Oxford Research Archive – deposit your research by clicking on ‘Contribute’
- The Cost of Knowledge boycott – read the latest about this boycott of high-cost journals
- Introduction to Open Access (by Peter Suber, Director of Harvard Open Access Project)
- “Moving towards an open access future – the role of academic libraries” (PDF)