Open Access FAQ
What is Open Access?
Open Access is defined as the practice of offering scholarly research freely over the Internet. For practical purposes, when we talk of Open Access here at Connecticut College, we are referring to one of two things:
- Author self-archiving of research articles in Connecticut College’s institutional repository, Digital Commons http://digitalcommons.conncoll.edu/ or self-archiving in a subject-based repository such as http://arxiv.org/
- Open Access publishing, or, a faculty author putting their articles in a web-based open access journal that has self-identified as being open access.
Why Open Access?
As a freely available resource on the Web, Open Access research offers faster access to content and can result in more readers than traditional research. Both forms of Open Access come in response to the rising cost of serial subscriptions. These escalating costs have limited access to scholarly research in colleges and universities, and have eliminated access for those researchers who do not have research libraries. Both of these limitations are particularly felt in areas of the world (Asia, Africa, and Latin America) with significantly fewer research libraries and research libraries with low budgets.
Okay, so what are we doing here at Connecticut College?
The faculty at Connecticut College is considering the adoption of an Open Access policy. The Connecticut College policy will deal only with author self-archiving and will request the deposit of peer-reviewed journal articles into Digital Commons upon their publication in a traditional journal.
What sort of institutions have an Open Access policy?
Dozens of colleges and universities and a handful of governmental agencies have adopted policies over the past two years. These include major research institutions like Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Texas, and Stanford and liberal arts colleges like Oberlin, Bryn Mawr, Bucknell, and Lafayette.
What will I have to do?
When a faculty member has an article accepted for publication at a peer-reviewed journal, he or she will forward to Information Services an electronic copy of the manuscript after peer review, but before the publisher has finalized it (i.e. the post-print copy). Consulting with the faculty member, IS staff will then determine whether it is permitted to place the article online and under what conditions. About 70% of scholarly journals allow for some form of free republication of traditionally published research.
What conditions do publishers attach to Open Source self-archiving?
Most publishers require that we explicitly indicate the journal, issue, and page numbers for the published version of the article. Many also require that we create a link to the subscription-only version of the article online. Some publishers allow (or even require) that the post-print is replaced with a pdf of the final published version as it appears in the journal. Some publishers require an embargo on Open Access self-archiving that may range from six to twenty-four months.
What if the journal does not allow for any Open Source self-archiving?
If no self-archiving is allowed, the article will not be posted online. There will be no action contrary to any publisher’s policy concerning republication. If the author wishes, IS staff can create a record for the article in Digital Commons and link to the subscription-only version online.
Can I put research that is not peer reviewed or creative work in Digital Commons?
Yes. It will not be required under the proposed Open Access policy, but conference papers, reviews, articles for non peer-reviewed publications, fiction, poetry, etc. may be posted in Digital Commons, as long as it is allowed by the publisher. Post-prints of articles published before the adoption of the policy may be posted online as requested.
What are the benefits to me as an author?
Several studies of self-archived research in the natural and social sciences have shown that these Open Access articles receive more citations than articles that are not self archived in the same issues of the same journals. The number of citations is also more likely to hold steady or increase over time. You can also learn about the downloading history of your work, along with the search terms researchers used to find your work, in the monthly author report received from Digital Commons. These reports will tell you not only the number of times an article was downloaded, but also the domains from which the download request came.
How does the College benefit?
The College benefits from the higher profile of its faculty research. The College community also secures greater access to the research produced by its own faculty. In one study, it was found that over 20% of the research published by Connecticut College faculty is not in journals that the library can subscribe to.
Are there other benefits?
Yes, the broader scholarly community gains access to the research produced by the faculty of the College. This is of critical importance to independent scholars without consistent access to a research library and to those at institutions in the United States and abroad that can’t afford expensive journal subscriptions.
What about copyright issues? Is copyright violated by putting published articles in an open repository?
The Open Access policy requests that authors grant a license to Connecticut College to freely display their research on the Internet, subject to the terms and conditions of the authors’ agreements with their publishers. The author or publisher will continue to retain copyright. All of the rights and duties that exist in traditional publication remain in an Open Access environment, including the ability to prosecute in cases of piracy or plagiarism.
So, I turned articles in to IS for inclusion in Digital Commons. What does that look like?
Follow this link to see one author’s articles in Digital Commons:
I already have my own website. Can I just put my research there?
If you want to maintain your own website, the best solution would be to link from your site to the archived copy in Digital Commons. Digital Commons presents several advantages for the author. There are multiple backup systems for the Digital Commons servers. Documents in Digital Commons are more visible to search engines. Digital Commons also compiles monthly reports for authors documenting the number of downloads of each paper and the search strings or referring sites researchers used to find each paper.
I understand the benefits, but do not want my article to be made Open Access.
The proposed policy has an opt-out provision; no member of the faculty will be forced to publish in Open Access.
There were multiple coauthors for my article. What are my obligations to them?
It is the practice in self-archiving that coauthors do not need to be notified in advance of their paper being placed online. Repositories do indicate all authors of a paper and most list institutional affiliation at the time of publication. If you wish to notify your coauthors in advance of making your article available, you are free to do so. If you do not want to make your paper available because you cannot notify your coauthors, that is permissible under the proposed policy.