Open Access

Open Access - easily, legally, cost-free

There are several ways to make an article Open Access. One could achieve Open Access, publishing in the same journals as usual. Though OA rules are different for each publisher, the following three easy steps will almost always guarantee lawful OA at no extra cost for the author.

1.) Keep the refereed manuscript. If the manuscript was prepared by a co-author, or was typeset for you by someone else, ask for a copy.

2.) After publication, enter the bibliographic data - Journal, volume, page, year, DOI (if available) to the text. Indicate that it is an un-edited manuscript. Then export it into PDF/A format - You might do that using Libre Office.

3.) Upload it to a repository. Set an embargo period - one year from the publication date. Indicate the URL of the article at the publisher's website.

Most publishers, a number of the largest publishing houses included, allow OA with such conditions. Several have less restrictive regulation. To make sure, consult the SHERPA RoMEO service, and the publisher's website. Those willing to invest more effort into making their publications OA should read the following part of the document.

Open Access publication

This document is about making publications Open Access (OA). One can achieve OA in three steps, easily, legally, cost-free - but maybe not optimally. Those willing only to make minimal effort, should read the short instructions above. This set of instructions is somewhat longer, and guides the scientist to achieve better result.

Investing effort into makeing one's publication Open Access might be worthwhile - OA articles start receiving citations earlier, and accumlate more on the long run. There are several roads to OA. One could publish in OA journals, or pay a fee for a publisher to make the article freely accessible. The latter, however, is not cheap. But one could achieve OA publishing in the same journals as usual, by depositing the article to a repository. It is free and legal - provided the author follows the rules of the publisher. The Hungarian Scientific Research Fund mandates OA - but accepts every kind of OA, and does not specify any particular repository for deposit. We concentrate here on making publications OA by depositing them to repositories.

Displaying articles on a personal or institutional website is not real Open Access. Several European projects specifically mandate repository deposit. Making accessible papers on personal or institutional websites instead of repositories could only be accepted as a last resort, if the author is unable to comply with the OA mandate and the publisher's rules. Even in this case we recommend depositing it to a repository - maybe parallelly with posting the article on a local website -, with restricting access to the full text.

Most publishers regulate OA - but rules differ from publisher to publisher. One could find information about it on the publisher's websites, and copyright transfer agreements ought to refer to these rules. The SHERPA RoMEO service helps authors to find out about publishers' policies. These policies might include ruling about what could be deposited - the manuscript, the corrected manuscript or the publishers' PDF - and an embargo period. Usually reference to the article on the publishers' website is required. They often disallow using the publishers' PDF, but usually the corrected manuscript (often referred as post-print) could be deposited.

The recommended file format for deposits is the PDF/A. Some repositories - as the REAL - do not accept any other file format but PDF. PDF/A makes the document platform-independent, and ensures longevity. Free software - like LibreOffice - might be used for PDF/A conversion.

When should the author deposit? Immediately after publication, at the latest. Embargoes could be set to restrict accessibility of the full text. REAL allows depositing subsequent copies of the same document, as independent, but linked items. Embargoed or restricted access material could be requested by e-mail in many repositories, including REAL.

If the article has a DOI, make sure to enter it to the repository. REAL has a DOI upload feature - specifying the DOI one could skip filling in the bibliographic data. It is still necessary to upload the full text, however.