How and why I self-archive – four researchers report their views

Many reasons are given for self-archiving, and self-archivers follow many different practices. We asked four researchers from different disciplines how and why they self-archive their research results. We also asked the researchers about their views on the promotion of self-archiving. This is the seventh part of the Think Open blog’s article series on self-archiving.

(Tämä artikkeli on saatavilla myös suomeksi.)

A variety of reasons can be given for self-archiving, and a variety of practices may be involved. On the other hand, self-archiving and the services provided by the library are not necessarily familiar to all researchers. This is despite the fact that every researcher at the University of Helsinki should be responsible for the self-archiving of his or her own publications in accordance with the Principles of open publication.

We asked four researchers about their ideas on self-archiving. Their answers are based on three free-form questions:

  1. What kind of practices do you have in self-archiving?
  2. Why do you self-archive, or what is the benefit of it?
  3. The principles of the open publication of the HU oblige researchers to self-archive. How can this be achieved in practice?

”I believe the subject is of interest to many people in the world.”

Harri Hemilä (TUHAT, ORCID, @HemilaHarri), a docent in public health science, actively self-archives the accepted manuscript versions of his articles.

  1. Harri Hemilä

    ”As a rule, I submit openly all manuscripts to Tuhat [UH’s research information system] if the journal is not open access. However, some journals prohibit the submitting of manuscripts openly even to the university database. As a rule, I follow such prohibitions, even if this action violates the university’s instructions.”

  2. ”My own key research field is vitamins and health, and I believe that this topic is of interest to many people around the world. That’s why I’ve been trying to submit all my manuscripts to Tuhat if the journal is not open. If I were to study a narrow subject that only interests very few specialists in the same narrow sector in the world, I would hardly have been as active in self-archiving.”

My own key research field is vitamins and health, and I believe that this topic is of interest to many people around the world. That’s why I’ve been trying to submit all my manuscripts to Tuhat if the journal is not open.

  1. ”If there are no structures for sanctions, why would researchers follow the instructions? But I still don’t feel that there is any sense in sanctions, either. There are also differences in disciplines. The Principles of open publication of the University of Helsinki state that ’[t]he requirement for open publication pertains to all members of the University community’. If a researcher writes a book that is sold through a publisher, I think it is even unreasonable to demand that the book or book chapter should always be open to everyone. Some journals prohibit the recording of manuscripts. Some disciplines are of such interest to narrow groups that the researcher may not have a motive to invest in self-archiving.”

The Library OA team’s comments: (1) It is true that not all publishers allow self-archiving in the organisation’s open repository. However, around 80% of publishers of scientific journals allow the self-archiving of either an approved manuscript or a published version. Articles published openly should also be submitted (via Tuhat) to the digital repository (Helda) of the University of Helsinki, thus ensuring the long-term preservation and permanent openness of publications. (3) The principles of open publication of the University of Helsinki apply to scientific articles, licentiate works and doctoral theses – and, where possible, to scientific monographs. Therefore, the open publication of monographs is not actually required (see the footnote to the Principles of open publication, only in Finnish, PDF link). One of the important benefits of openness is the dissemination of information globally to researchers as well as to anyone interested in it.

”Cooperation with the library works very well”

Anssi Korhonen (TUHAT, ORCID), a docent in theoretical philosophy, has utilised Helsinki University Library’s self-archiving service.

  1. ”So far I have sent my articles to the library for archiving. This cooperation has worked very well because the library has also taken care of verifying the rights.”

So far I have sent my articles to the library for archiving. This cooperation has worked very well because the library has also taken care of verifying the rights.

  1. Anssi Korhonen

    ”This question is easy to answer because, as stated in question 3, the University of Helsinki already urges researchers to self-archive. This is an understandable strategy for the UH, and partly for the same reasons, it also makes sense for the researcher. Self-archiving is one way to increase your visibility (accessibility + easy sharing). Of course, self-archiving is also a general benefit as it offers one way to get behind paywalls – this may also be relevant for the UH nowadays. Other avenues that I use to get behind a paywall include common social networking sites, such as Academia.edu and ResearchGate. Of course, they are not trouble-free (commerciality, etc.), and it is sometimes a tricky question about what you can actually share through them and in which format. In self-archiving, this problem has been addressed. On the other hand, social networking sites also offer functions that are not available in self-archiving (discussion, commenting, etc.).”

  2. ”It is difficult to come up with a solution other than educating researchers. I think that over time, self-archiving becomes self-evident as the scientific publishing culture changes.”

The Library OA team’s comments: (2) As stated above, there are both benefits and problems with social networking sites. Self-archiving in the university repository guarantees the long-term preservation of publications and does not require registration. But it may also be useful for the researcher to use social networking sites, which provide greater visibility for publications and opportunities for commenting. You can also find tips on improving the visibility of your publications in the library’s guide, Research Visibility & Altmetrics.

”It is wrong if the research is not open to everyone”

Jussi Heinonen (TUHAT, ORCID) is an Academy Research Fellow and a docent in geosciences. If needed, he makes a suitable version of his publications for self-archiving.

  1. Jussi Heinonen

    ”Whenever the publication series allows this, I try to save a version of the article, in Word, into TUHAT and ResearchGate. It takes about 15–30 minutes, and I can arrange the tables and the pictures in the way I consider best.”

  2. ”Science is funded by public funds. It is wrong if it is not open to everyone. For researchers outside the Western world, articles stored in ResearchGate are valuable because their libraries generally do not have expensive subscription contracts with publishers. I’m active regarding these issues for the benefit of science and knowledge!”

Science is funded by public funds. It is wrong if it is not open to everyone.

  1. ”For example, for professors who have a lot of other things to do, it could be useful to offer library services that do archiving for them. Of course, resources are limited. In addition, there could be instructions on the Flamma intranet and the library’s website on how to do an article version suitable for self-archiving, and even provide a Word template for it.”

The Library OA team’s comments: (2) Articles that are archived through Tuhat in the Helda repository are harvested by search engines such as Google. In this way they are accessible to all researchers, including those outside the Western world. (3) The library’s self-archiving service is open to all researchers at the University of Helsinki. The library also provides support for combining different files (text, pictures, tables) into an article. Thus, researchers can send the accepted manuscript version as separate files to the library’s service address: openaccess@helsinki.fi.

”The University and the Academy of Finland require open publication”

Markku Lanne (TUHAT, ORCID, @MarkkuLanne), a professor of economics, actively self-archives his publications in Tuhat. In addition, Lanne has linked versions of the articles in his working paper series to his own website.

  1. Markku Lanne

    ”For a few years now, I have self-archived permissible versions of my accepted publications in the Tuhat database. In addition, I have generally paid the open access payment for publication series. In economics it is typical that research papers are published in working paper series, even before they have been offered to peer-reviewed publication series. And in general, I always link these working papers to my personal home page.”

  2. ”The main reason for self-archiving might be the fact that the University of Helsinki and the Academy of Finland requires it in their open access principles. In addition, self-archiving increases the visibility and accessibility of publications. In particular, the open publishing of working papers also allows commenting while the research is still in progress.”

Open publishing of working papers also allows commenting while the research is still in progress.

  1. ”The service provided by the library is probably an effective way to increase self-archiving. In addition, support for open access by research funders and faculties will improve access to research publications.”

Articles published in this series:

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