It’s Open Access Week!
So, what exactly does that mean?
Open Access (OA) refers to the free, online availability of research articles. That helps researchers so they don’t hit a paywall – suddenly get to a point in their research when they are required to pay in order to access the material.
There are three types of OA models, so when you are ready to publish it is good to know which model the OA journal uses. The three models include gold OA, green OA, and hybrid OA. The gold OA model is an ideal publishing model where publishers make articles available for free immediately on the journal’s website. The big advantage of the gold OA model is that the library would not have to pay a subscription fee because an author processing charge (APC) would cover the cost. The green OA model allows authors to archive the articles to author’s professional website or institutional repository with or without an embargo period. It is a mediocre alternative to the gold OA model. The hybrid OA model is the least preferable model in which subscription-based journals allow authors to make individual articles gold open access immediately on payment of an APC. But the disadvantage of the hybrid OA is that both authors and libraries would result in double-paying for the same content
Although academic libraries, global/local coalitions and some academic societies have been advocating OA for a decade, funder mandates are the key to moving the OA wheel forward. In 2008, the National Institutes of Health mandates research papers describing research funded by NIH must be available to the public free through PubMed Central within 12 months of publication. In 2018, a group of national research funders, European and international organizations and charitable foundations launched the Plan S (formally called cOAlition S) requiring full and immediate OA to the research publications. As a result, we see several engineering publishers such as IEEE, ASME, SAE etc., have started offering OA publishing options on a small number of their journals. Among the limited number of OA journals, the green OA and hybrid OA models are the mainstream while there are fewer fully OA journals than the journals in the green OA and hybrid OA models. For example, as of today, IEEE has about 20 fully OA journals while most of its journals and conference proceedings are subscription-based. However, some publishers such as John Wiley & Sons Inc. (Wiley) and the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) embrace the gold OA model. In June 2020, Wiley and IET announced their OA publishing partnership to transition the IET journal program to gold OA beginning in January 2021.
It is believed more engineering publishers will embrace the gold OA model or at least the green OA model when more funders set strict requirements on research publications to be freely available in a timely manner.
Here is information for some engineering publishers’ OA publishing policy.
SPARC Open Access https://sparcopen.org/open-access/
Plan S https://www.coalition-s.org/
17 June 2020: The Institution of Engineering and Technology and Wiley Announce Open Access Publishing Partnership https://www.theiet.org/media/press-releases/press-releases-2020/17-june-2020-the-institution-of-engineering-and-technology-and-wiley-announce-open-access-publishing-partnership/
Guest Blogger: Qianjin (Marina) Zhang