Open Access Week 2019: The When, Where and How of Open Access

This week October 21 – 27, 2019 is Open Access week, an international event celebrating and promoting openness in research.

Banner for Open Access Week 2019 "Open for Whom? Equity in Open Knowledge"

In keeping with this year’s theme is Open for Whom? Equity in Open Knowledge (1), in this blogpost we look at where and when you can be open with your research, to ensure maximum reuse of, and access to, research – for now and the future.

We’re using the Library’s twitter account (@sgullibrary) to retweet interesting articles and blogpost all this week.


When and where should you be open?  We have some pointers to help you decide.

What can you share, and how can you easily find open access research? See our top tips below.

When to be open

As the endorsement of Plan S  (“making full and immediate Open Access a reality”) by many significant charitable and public funders shows2, the drive to make research open and accessible is an ever-growing expectation. 

Of course, before you choose to blog, tweet, promote at conferences or upload to websites such as ResearchGate any research you are working on, you’ll need to consider:

Could there be any real-world applications or commercial opportunity?

Does your funder ask you to keep the research confidential?

SGUL’s JRES Enterprise and Innovation team can give advice to help you understand intellectual property-related matters and commercial research endeavours.

Examples of Open/public domain publication & communication:

  • Conference poster
  • Conference presentation
  • Publication
  • Blogging
  • Tweeting
  • Sharing and posting online

Follow the principle ‘as open as possible, as closed as necessary’.

Where to be open?

Open Access publishing

If you have been approached to publish open access, what are the credentials of the publisher, and what commitments do they make to perform peer review? Will your work be indexed in the scholarly databases?

Use Think, Check Submit and DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals)

Posting your work online

Can you make your work available in a repository? Hang on though – what is a repository?  

Features of repositories as outlined in this paper3 are that they are platforms which:

1.            Allow deposit of digital research outputs
2.            Manage those digital research outputs
3.            Disseminate digital research outputs over the internet
4.            No login or subscription required to access outputs
5.            Are fully interoperable with other research systems
6.            Have some role with respect to preservation

Institutional repositories, such as SGUL’s SORA (St George’s Online Research Archive) and subject repositories (such as Europe PubMed Central) typically organise the records so that the information can be discovered by other systems – to help foster further sharing. SGUL Library staff check the publisher T&Cs before making any full text freely available online.

The CORE database aggregates millions of research papers from repositories and allows for text and data mining.4 to fully exploit the mass of research.

ResearchGate on the other hand is a networking site where many researchers post their papers.

However, action has been taken by the Coalition for Responsible Sharing, a publishers’ coalition, because their copyrighted material has been shared without the copyright holders permission – a recent report5 stated that “ResearchGate continues to illicitly provide access to millions of copyrighted research articles” 

Consider if you have the right to post your research there – are you the copyright holder? Are you working on the research with other researchers and have you checked with them?

What can you share?

Look out for Creative Commons licences, which give you a clear indication of how you can reuse – see our blog post explaining the varieties of licence you may come across, and what they mean.

How can you easily find legally posted open access research?

Install the CORE browser extension https://core.ac.uk/services/discovery/

Install the Unpaywall extension   https://unpaywall.org/products/extension

References

1] Shockey, N. Theme of 2019 International Open Access Week To Be “Open for Whom? Equity in Open Knowledge” [Internet]. 2019 [cited 2019 Oct 23]. Available from: http://www.openaccessweek.org/profiles/blogs/theme-of-2019-international-open-access-week-to-be-open-for-whom-.

2] Wellcome Trust Open Research [Internet]. 2019 [cited 2019 Oct 23].

Available from https://wellcome.ac.uk/what-we-do/our-work/open-research

3]  Jacobs, Neil. In the context of Open Access policies, what is a “repository”? Some definitions and principles [Internet]. 2016 [cited 2019 Oct 23]. Available from: https://scholarlycommunications.jiscinvolve.org/wp/2016/05/31/what-is-a-repository/

4] CORE: Learn more about our powerful services [Internet]. 2019 [cited 2019 Oct 23]. Available from https://core.ac.uk/services/

5] Coalition for Responsible Sharing: Status Report on ResearchGate: June 13, 2019: [Internet]. 2019 [cited 2019 Oct 23]. Available from http://www.responsiblesharing.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/CfRS-status-report-2019-06-13.pdf


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