Open Access Week, 2013: Australia and Pittsburgh USA

.OAWkIt’s Open Access week everywhere from the 21st to the 27th October 2013 . Organised by SPARC,  Open Access Week is designed to promote open access. Dr Danny Kingsley of the Australian Open Access Support Group has compiled a list of activities in Australia during OAWk. I was sorry to miss them, but delighted to find there were activities here in Pittsburgh too. Plus they had open access cookies 🙂

So, today, along with a room full of other people I attended a great presentation by Peter B Hirtle, Senior Policy Advisor, Cornell University Library, and Research Fellow, Berkman Center for Internet Security and Society, Harvard University. The presentation covered issues regarding copyright and publishing research. While copyright laws many have differences between countries, many of the issues are the same for scholars everywhere.

So the talk covered many issues, including why open access is important (making publicly funded research available to the public, research visibility, sharing with those who don’t have the resources to subscribe, the possibility of increased citations etc.). It also provided a backgrounder on copyright (which I am not going to cover here – there are many other good examples out there on the web relevant to different situations), some of the barriers to OA, including restrictive copyright and licensing agreements between publishers and authors. The presenter then proposed four different options for authors seeking to make their work OA.

Option 1:

Publish in an Open Access journal. There are good ones in most fields. Some charge article processing fees, others don’t. Do your research, consult your colleagues or or the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and find the one most suited to your research and or your needs. Also be aware that while most are fine,  not all OA journals are reputable, so perhaps also consult Beall’s list of possibly predatory journals and publishers.

Option 2:

Publish in a conventional, toll access journal and deposit the author’s peer reviewed final copy in an institutional or disciplinary repository. Tools such as Sherpa/Romeo provide easy to use information on publisher copyright and self-archiving into repositories or web sites. For immediate deposit into a repository, we are basically looking for journals and or publishers with a green tick!

Option 3:

If the publisher is does not allow green open access in their  copyright or licence to publish agreements, you can request changes to the agreement. As an aside, I have been successful in amending a restrictive agreement in two cases and not successful in one – in only the three times I have tried.

Option 4:

The final suggestion today was to add an author’s addenda to the agreement seeking the rights you require. There is more information on this at the SPARC site.

In summary the message from today was:

1. Understand the options

2. Read your contracts and know what they mean

3. Ask for the rights you want

In introducing the presentation, the Scholarly Communications Librarian at the University of Pittsburgh  Office of Scholarly Communication also mentioned the many services they have which support faculty wanting to investigate more open access. These services include OA repository services, altmetrics, an author fee fund for eligible open access journals, and open access journal publishing services.

Most academic libraries offer a range of such services. Why not use OA week to see what your librarian can do to help you go OA?

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