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Durham University


Publish Open Access

The initial focus of the open access movement was to facilitate free access to peer-reviewed journal articles and conference papers. At first, authors were only presented with a 'Green' route to open access, which permitted them to deposit their final accepted, peer-reviewed manuscripts in a subject or institutional repository. Often, the deposited file could only be made openly available after an embargo period.

However, there have been significant open access developments in recent years. Arguably, the most important is the availability of a second route to open access, the 'Gold' route. This refers to the free and immediate online availability of the final published version of an output from the publisher's own website. The name does imply that payment is required. And this is usually, but not always the case. For journal articles the payment is known as an Article Processing Charge (APC), and usually costs in the range of £1.5-£2K per article.

There have also been open access developments in academic book and monograph publishing. A few of the same publishers who offer a Gold open access option for journal articles, now provide a Gold option for authors of books. Although a few publishers permit repository deposit of single book chapters, none currently provide a Gold open access option.

  • Where can I find out about my publisher's author self-archiving policy?
    • Check the publisher's own website under sections labelled 'Open Access' or 'Author Rights' or 'Permissions'
    • Copyright agreement/transfer forms and licences
    • For journals, search the SHERPA/RoMEO service by journal title or publisher name
    • Email the DRO Team and ask them to investigate
  • Which open access options are on offer: Gold and/or Green?
    • Gold usually (but not always) requires payment of an Article Processing Charge (APC)
    • Green involves no payment, but there's likely to be restrictions on the version of full-text which can be made available open access. There may also be restrictions on the type of repository in which it can be deposited. Embargo periods may be imposed too, before a deposited file can be made available open access
  • What exactly is on offer if I 'go Gold'?
    • Is there an APC, how much is it and who will pay?
    • Does the publisher operate a peer-review process and how does it work?
    • Can you retain copyright in your work? If not, is that a problem for you?
    • Which licences can you publish under, for example, Creative Commons? If your funder is paying the APC, do they require that you publish under a particular type of licence?
    • How will the publication be made available to readers? Are there any potential barriers, eg although available open access, do readers still have to first register to access the full-text?
    • How quickly will your publication be made available to readers?
    • Is the publisher on the List of Predatory Publishers 2016?

Publishers usually ask authors to transfer copyright to them. They claim this helps them to defend an author's work against plagiarism and copyright infringement. But some people question whether publishers need to own copyright in order to do this. Especially when the transfer of copyright involves authors giving-up important rights. For example, rights to choose how they want to disseminate their work.

There is now a legal means which could enable authors to keep some of their rights, and retain more control over how their work is made available. The SPARC Author Addendum is a single page form which authors complete and return to their publisher along with the usual publishing agreement. Authors complete the form by adding their name (and details of any co-authors), together with the journal and article title. It is also advisable to include a covering letter noting that you have supplied the Addendum. Should a publisher refuse to accept it, the advice is to ask them why the author rights detailed on the form prevent them from publishing your article.

The Addendum was developed by SPARC, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition.

Compared to journal article publishing, open access publishing in the book and monograph sector is still relatively immature. However, some of the larger publishing companies have now entered the market. If you are considering this option, keep in mind all the factors listed above, not least the cost. Most of the publishers below indicate that the Gold charge will depend of the length of the book. But by way of example, Routledge charge £10K and Palgrave Macmillan £11K per book, exclusive of VAT.

  • Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB)
    Use DOAB to locate details of open access book publishers.
  • Manchester University Press
    Charge £5,900 for up to 80,000 words. Extra for longer books.
  • Open Humanities Press (OHP)
    OHP describes itself as a 'not-for-profit, international, scholar-led open access publishing collective'. Authors are not charged to publish, nor readers charged to read. Authors are advised to contact the Editor of the appropriate book series to find out details of the submission process.
  • Palgrave Macmillan
    Charge £11K for a monograph and £7.5K for a 'pivot' publication, exclusive of VAT. A pivot publication is between 25,000 and 50,000 words. Authors can publish under a CC-BY licence, but other licences are possible on request.
  • Routledge
    Charge £10K, exclusive of VAT. Authors publish under an Open Access T&F License to Publish. Routledge state that this is based upon the Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs (CC BY-NC-ND) license.