Your guide to Open Access publishing and Open Science

Open Access promoting. Best practices, worst offenders

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Open Access is still a relatively new publishing model that needs good promotion, if it is to grow. However, the current state of affairs in the scientific community that still supports publishing in traditional journals with prestigious IF does not help. Despite that, OA publishers and others try to encourage scholars to publish in this model. The topic of OA promotion is extensive and I will focus only on a few examples – some that are good and others that are plainly bad.

Promotion by price

The cost of publishing is one of the main reasons why scientists are reluctant to publish in Open Access. APCs can be very high, reaching up to several thousand dollars per article, and in the OA model authors have to pay for them using their own resources. Fortunately, many universities and research institutions provide special funds for publishing in OA, however, the majority of those are not sufficient to cover such high costs. Many OA publishers are aware of this fact and do not charge authors. According to the SOAP survey, 22,977 of the respondents had published at least article in Open Access, of whom 50.2% did not pay a fee. Low APCs can be a good way to promote Open Access among scholars. PeerJ, which is a so-called mega-journal, promotes itself under this rule.  It does not exactly have an APC, charging instead a one-off fee for a lifetime membership that gives the right to publish repeatedly at no further cost. Membership plans start at $99, which allows one to publish one paper a year. For $299 authors receive an infinite plan: publish anything and any time.

Price flexibility for promotional purposes is as old as the world and extremely effective, as in the case of Open Access.

OA policies

Open Access can be seen as part of a new paradigm for the development and dissemination of science. In this context, the promotion of Open Access ought to become the responsibility of central authorities that introduce special policies for OA. A good example of such a strategy is the OA policy introduced by the British government. However, in this case, there still is a danger of the opposition from the scientific community, which may have a problem with accepting mandatory OA. At this point it is also worth mentioning the new UNESCO policy, which adopts Open Access as the way to publish results of its own research and thus gives a good example for other institutions and organizations.

The Internet is King

Open Access can be promoted well via the Internet. An excellent example comes from the University of Manchester that launched a special website/portal named Open Access at Manchester. The website contains a lot of useful information for researchers and scholars who are thinking about publishing their works in the OA model. They can find information about journals, how to gain funding for covering APCs and where to deposit a paper. Moreover, the website disseminates news about Open Access, informs readers about OA policies, includes FAQ and presents the latest OA research via Manchester eScholar.

Open Access bad PR

Of course, there are many examples of OA initiatives that are only OA in the name. Dr. Jeffrey Beall keeps on his blog Scholarly Open Access a list of OA journals and publishers who are in his opinion predatory and whose actions can harm authors. The list contains more than 200 positions. Although one should be careful with judgment when checking the list, undoubtedly it is worth taking a look at the examples presented, especially if you are an author who intends to publish in the OA model and who is looking for a suitable journal or publisher.



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