23rd-29th October is International Open Access week, celebrating the practice of making research outputs such as peer-reviewed journal articles, conference papers, theses, book chapters/monographs, freely available online for everyone to read, use and re-use – disseminating and sharing knowledge.
Matt Holland from the North-West Ambulance Services Library & Knowledge Service has written a fantastic Guide to Open Access for Allied Health Professionals which is well worth a read for more information on this topic, from an NHS perspective.
But here is some brief information on Open Access which you may find useful:
How do I find and access Open Access content?
Some publishers have now launched specific Open Access journal titles/collections, which are freely available. Examples include:
- NIHR Journals
- Hindawi Journals
- Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)
- BioMed Central journals
- Sage Open
- Elsevier Open Science
Some journals are called ‘hybrid’ journals and are a combination of subscription-access content and Open Access, so it is worth looking on the publisher’s site/tables of contents to see what you can access, Open Access articles are usually marked somewhere to say they are Open Access.
Some content is also available from institutional repositories, which you can search at:
- OpenDOAR – worldwide directory of Open Access repositories
- SHERPA search – search UK Open Access repositories
How do I make my research outputs Open Access?
There are two options for making your research output available via Open Access:
This is where you pay a publisher an Article Processing Charge (APC) to have your article published as Open Access. Once you pay the fee, your article will be published as Open Access and you’ll also be able to upload a copy into your institutional repository immediately, without embargo.
Some research funders stipulate that your research articles need to be made Open Access via the Gold route, and you should factor in the costs for this as part of your research grant proposal. APC charges can vary between publishers, and some offer discounts for institutions with membership.
The NIHR policy requires that all funded research outputs are made Open Access, preferably via the Gold route – as you can see in the NIHR Open Access policy.
This is the ‘free’ option – you upload a copy of your research article into your institutional repository, to be made publicly available in accordance with publisher’s embargo periods. Publisher’s embargo periods range from 6-12 months and sometimes longer. Your article will still be published with subscription access.
You need to check that your chosen publisher’s embargo period fits in with your funder’s requirements, but there are tools out there to help you with this:
- SHERPA Romeo – publisher’s copyright & self-archiving policies
- SHERPA Juliet – research funder’s Open Access policies
- SHERPA Funder and Author Compliance Tool (FACT) – search by Funder and Publisher.
If in doubt, speak to a member of library staff! We’re here to guide you through this.
Does the RD&E have an institutional repository I can upload my research outputs to?
Not all NHS Trusts have an institutional repository yet, but we’re lucky at the RD&E to have the RD&E Research Repository, a joint project between Research & Development and Exeter Health Library, where you can upload full-text articles, conference proceedings, posters etc as well as journal citations.
So if you have any articles or research outputs that you’d like to make Open Access, or have any further questions about Open Access, please contact: rde-tr.ResearchRepository@nhs.net.