Self-archiving is a free way for researchers to carry out open access publishing

The new article series brings self-archiving to its basics, discussing its advantages and presenting special questions. This first post of the series reviews different forms of open access publication and establishes the place of self-archiving among the different alternatives for open access.

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The openness of a scientific article can be ensured in different ways. Publishing in an open access journal is often quite expensive, as is paying for the article to be open in a hybrid publication. On the other hand, there is not always a suitable open access (OA) publication channel available for your article. So it is indeed good for the researcher to remember the third alternative, self-archiving. The following shows the three basic alternatives of open access publishing.

1. Publishing in an open publication channel (gold OA)

Most commercial publishers collect fees of even several thousands of euros for the article to be published openly. This expense is called the article processing charge (APC).

On the other hand, many gold OA papers do not collect any fees. In this case, the definition diamond OA can be used to refer to an open publication without APCs.

More and more discounts related to charges are included in the agreements of the Helsinki University Library, so it is always worth checking possible discounts for gold OA (or hybrid publications).

2. Publishing in a subscription journal and paying for the article to be open (hybrid OA)

A hybrid open access journal is a subscription journal in which the publisher collects a fee (APC) for opening an individual article. The opening of the article can cost several thousands of euros.

3. Self-archiving of an article to an open access repository (green OA)

Self-archiving is the free alternative for open access publishing, and it is relatively easy to carry out. The publisher usually allows an accepted manuscript version (final draft, author’s accepted manuscript) to be self-archived openly – instead of the final published version. In addition, the self-archived publication may be embargoed. The embargo (publication delay) period depends on the publisher.

Self-archiving usually meets the scientific funders’ requirement that the publications created as a result of the research project must be openly available. The University of Helsinki offers services related to self-archiving.

Researchers are expected to deposit their publications in the repository for the University of Helsinki (Helda) through Tuhat research information system (see Principles of open publishing). If necessary, the library takes care of the self-archiving of the article and the inquiries related to it as well as the setting of the publication delay. The researcher only sends a suitable version of the article to the library (read more about the self-archiving service for researchers).

What is self-archiving?

      • Self-archiving (green open access) means that a version of an article is deposited into the institutional or subject specific repository and it is publicly accessible through this repository. An article version depends on publisher (read more about article versions).
      • At the University of Helsinki repository is called Helda. UH researchers deposit their articles through Tuhat research information system from which the information is updated directly to Helda (read more about self-archiving at the UH).
      • In addition to Helda, there are many discipline-specific repositories for self-archiving (see OpenDOAR database).
      • Once the article is self-archived, it is permanently available for everyone (read about the benefits of open access).

Other forms of open publishing

Next to the basic alternatives for open access publishing, several different terms measure the openness of the publication (see Piwowar et al. 2018). The following concepts, among others, can be found in the OA field (the definitions can vary):

  • Bronze OA means a delayed green OA or gold OA without defining an open access license (e. g. Creative Commons license). The licence information guarantees the openness of the publication.
  • Black OA means articles made available in illegally pirated services, such as SciHub.

Articles published in this series: