As a new researcher, Academic Publishing can be daunting, and there are no lessons or roadmaps on how to go through the process or how it actually works. On top of this, the academic publishing landscape has changed dramatically over the last 5-10years, and is continuing to evolve.
There are pressures, and unknowns when looking to publish for the first time, from 'impact factors' and assessing journals to Open Access publishing. This page aims to give you some guidance to this landscape.
'Open Access Publishing' is a phrase you will encounter and is increasingly mainstream as a publishing mechanism. Open Access is becoming Mandatory for many funding bodies, organisations, and research assessment exercises like the REF.
‘Open access (OA) refers to free, unrestricted online access to research outputs such as journal articles and books. OA content is open to all, with no access fees’
There is evidence that publishing Open Access does increase the rate at which your work is cited. The more people who can access your work, the more people are able to cite it.
There are different types of Open Access including Gold, Green, Diamond, which you can read more about here
It addresses several problems of the traditional model;
1. If an article is open access anyone with an internet connection can read it for free, whether they work at a university or not regardless of library subscriptions etc.
2. Gold Open Access, and some green routes, enable researchers to retain their copyright over their work.
3. As we've seen in the Covid-19 pandemic response, the effect sharing research promptly with no barriers can result in serious scientific breakthroughs which impact the whole world.
However; There are some costs associated to publishing Open Access (especially the Gold Route) which make it difficult to do as an unfunded researcher, Postgraduate or Early Career Researcher.
But what's wrong with this?
1. It's perfectly possible for a researcher in a university to be unable to read their own work if their library doesn't subscribe to the journal
2. People outside of the university are the taxpayers who fund a lot of the research, are unable to read the outcome of the research they fund.
3. Is the university really a ‘public good’ if the research it produces is not accessible to the vast majority of people?
4. For the researcher, they are giving their intellectual property, and hard work away for free. A tick box is often built into journal submission platforms which gives your copyright to the publisher, which you must tick to proceed with the submission
If you are an Early Career Researcher, Postgraduate Researcher or looking for the first time at research publishing, there's a lot of difficulty in choosing which route to go down.
Do you go for the Open Access route to maximise exposure, how do you find the money for Gold Open Access?
Do you go for the traditional subscription model, which limits your potential readership to academia but is less accessible?
What about the journals, some journals only allow one route, some are subscription only, but an increasing number are Gold Open Access only, so where can you publish?
All Good, and Frustrating Questions. Here are my tips
If you are starting out in your career as a researcher and you are unfunded, there is nothing wrong with building up a good base of publications in subscription journals, and then choosing Open Access when you are further into your career and able to do so.
If you are funded, your funder may already mandate Open Access publishing, so check your funder requirements and see if there is provision for publication costs, and check our Publisher Deals and Discounts page
And finally, ask us. Whether it's checking what kind of journal you want to submit to, looking at your options just contact us. Email our team email@example.com