What can you do to help

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To help understand the recommendations below, here are two sections from the initiative.
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.  

Scientists, Scholars, and Researchers

I. Self-Archiving:
  • Self-archive 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.
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.
    • 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.

Universities and Laboratories

I. Self-Archiving:
    • Create an OAI-compliant archive at your institution. There is now free software to make this easy. Encourage your researchers to deposit all their work in the archive and offer any assistance they may need in doing so. Realize that this modest investment will enhance the visibility and impact of research produced by the institution, help researchers worldwide improve their access to research literature, and eventually reduce your library's serials budget.
II. Open-access Journals:
    • Provide funds to authors at your institution to cover the costs of publishing in open access journals.
    • Support scholars at your institution in launching new online journals using your network server and secretarial staff.
III. Other Measures:
  • Adopt a policy that in hiring and promotion you will give proper weight to peer-reviewed publications regardless of their medium (print or electronic) or their cost (priced or free). Let employees and job candidates know about this policy.


I. Self-Archiving:
    • Offer to maintain the university archive at your institution. Help faculty archive their past research papers, digitizing them if necessary, and teach them how to archive their future papers.
II. Open-access Journals:
    • Help open access journals launched at your institution become known to other libraries, indexing services, potential funders, and potential readers.
III. Other Measures:
  • Join library consortia like SPARC to multiply your efforts and publicize your support for free and affordable journals.
  • Make sure that scholars at your institution know how to find open access journals and archives in their fields, and make sure tools are set up to allow them to efficiently access these publications.
  • Monitor the scene. As open access journals proliferate, and as their usage and impact grow, cancel over-priced journals that do not measure up.
  • See the overview of the issues for librarians (from Create Change).

Journals and Publishers

I. Self-Archiving:
    • Encourage your authors to self-archive in OAI-compliant archives.
II. Open-access Journals:
    • Experiment with new business models that provide open access to the work that you publish.
    • If you enhance your authors' basic texts with expensive add-ons, consider offering open access to the basic texts and only charging for access to the enhanced edition.
III. Other Measures:
  • If you don't offer open access, at least let authors retain the copyright to their works and only ask for the right of first print and/or electronic publication.
  • If you cannot yet afford to offer open access to your newest issues, at least offer it after six months and for all back issues older than that.
  • If you are a journal editor whose publisher has adopted audience-limiting access policies, declare independence and look for a publisher more accommodating to your vision of open access. Here are some examples of journals that have declared independence from their publishers.

Foundations and Research Funding Agencies

I. Self-Archiving:
    • Provide funds to universities to help create institutional EprintArchives for self-archiving and to provide the necessary technical and logistical support filling and maintaining them.
    • Require that those receiving your research grants agree to self-archiveany resulting articles and/or to publish them in open access journals.
    • Provide support for authors in poorer nations and institutions to coverthe costs of self-archiving and/or publishing their work in open access journals and archives.
II. Open-access Journals:
  • Provide the funds to cover publication charges to meet the expenses ofopen access journals.
  • Let researchers with existing grants know that their funds can be usedto cover expenses of open access journals or archives, cr provide supplemental funds to cover those expenses.
  • Fund the creation of open access journals.
  • Use your funds to help existing journals make the transition to openaccess publishing.
  • Allow your grants to be used for building endowments for open accessjournals and archives. Endowed open access journals will not need to seek further funding from any source.
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.

Learned Societies and Professional Associations

I. Self-Archiving:
    • Support and promote central (discipline-based) self-archiving and distributed (institution-based) self-archiving by your membership
II. Open-access Journals:
  • Adopt a policy supporting open access journals and archives in your field, encouraging researchers to publish in them.
  • If you publish a scholarly journal, make it available to readers online free of charge.
  • Journal software now exists to reduce costs by automating many of the common jobs needed to publish an online journal.III. Other Measures:
  • Encourage universities to give peer-reviewed online publications the same weight as peer-reviewed print publications. (Here are some examples of policies already adopted by societies and associations.)


I. Self-Archiving:
II. Open-access Journals:
    • Adopt uniform legislation covering all government agencies that fund research. Research grants should include funds to pay the fees that might be charged by open access journals.
III. Other Measures:
  • Retain copyright to articles based on government-funded research and license the resulting works to the public domain to ensure permanent 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.