What you can do to Help
Scientists, Scholars, and Researchers
Universities and Laboratories
Journals and Publishers
Foundations and Research Funding Agencies
Learned Societies and Professional Associations
To help understand the recommendations below, here are two sections from
Which literature? "The literature that should be freely
accessible online is that which scholars give to the world without expectation
of payment. Primarily, this category encompasses their peer-reviewed
journal articles, but it also includes any unreviewed preprints
that they might wish to put online for comment or to alert colleagues
to important research findings."
How accessible? "There are many degrees and kinds of wider and
easier access to this literature. By 'open access' to this literature,
we mean its free availability on the public internet, permitting any
users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to
the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass
them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose,
without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable
from gaining access to the internet itself. The only constraint on reproduction
and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should
be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the
right to be properly acknowledged and cited."
In addition to everything else you could do to help open access, please sign
on to the Budapest Open Access Initiative
your papers and encourage your colleagues to do so. If your discipline
does not have an archive compliant with the Open
Archives Initiative (OAI), then encourage your university or research
center to create an institutional archive. There is now free
software to make this easier (see CalTech's review
of the software in SPARC e-news).
II. Open-access Journals:
- Whenever possible, publish your papers in journals that provide open
access to all the articles they publish.
- If no such journals exist in your field, then help launch
new journals committed to open access. Journal
software now exists to reduce costs by automating the functions
of publishing online journals.
- Encourage existing journals to offer open access to their contents.
For example, serve as editor or reviewer only for journals committed
to open access.
- If you withdraw your services as editor or reviewer from a journal
because of its restrictive access policies, let it know why you are
doing so and consider writing an open letter to let the wider world
know. (Here are some examples
of other open letters.)
- Ask the foundation funding your research, or your university, to
provide the funds to cover the costs, if any, of publishing your work
in an open access journal.
III. Other Measures:
- If you must publish in journals that do not provide open access,
ask to retain the copyright to your work and offer in its place the
right of first print and electronic publication. If the journal will
not agree to this, ask at least for the right to self-archive your work
in an OAI-compliant archive.
(If the journal provides open access, there is no harm in transferring
copyright to it, if this is what it wants.)
- Make sure the learned societies and professional associations to
which you belong know about your commitment to open access. Serve on
their committees and governing boards.
- Create an index, database, or web list of the free online journals,
archives, and collections of scholarship in your discipline.
- Write opinion pieces supporting open access in any forum that will
accept them. Many scholarly journals publish letters to the editor.
Some disciplines publish newspapers and magazines.
- See the overview
of the issues for university faculty (from Create
III. Other Measures:
- Use your funds to help existing journals digitize their back issues,
provided they will then provide open access to them.
- Take steps to ensure that your research funds are not going to support
journals that actively oppose open access.
- Support groups of scientists and scholars in particular regions and
disciplines who are trying to achieve open access.
III. Other Measures:
- Let your government, and any universities, foundations, or professional
societies that you support, know that you support open access to all
scientific and scholarly literature.
- Demand that research funded by taxpayers be made available to the
public free of charge.