I hear concerns about depositing publications in our Open Access repository: Leicester Research Archive and think we need to address them. Some I think are good reasons not to simply go with Open Access. With many others I’m aiming for engagement and probably reassurance and encouragement rather than agreeing with barriers. As ever, I could be wrong and am open to conversation and being less wrong.
I think there are indeed things we don’t always expect to make Open Access. Broadly these are things being sold and things that should be confidential.
Working on commercially confidential industrial collaboration I expect authors would check with their partners on what they would like to make available. I hope that Open Access would help authors build their reputation so that their expertise becomes more widely known to industry. A speaker at ESOF2012 made an excellent point that academic hierarchy isn’t the same as reputation relevant to industry. As well as trade secrets there are other ways to protect intellectual property including patents.
Working on material that is patient confidential say, I expect that the research protocols considered ethical would include sufficient anonymisation for publication to a wide audience, as well as perhaps material shared under protection.
If you are planning to sell a book, opinions differ on whether sharing parts (or all) online helps build readership amongst potential customers. Again, I hope reputation helps sales and impact.
I don’t advocate that everyone should work for free at this time. I’m currently enjoying and recommend Jaron Lanier’s book “Who Owns The Future?” or his shorter manifesto You Are Not a Gadget. I do think that research paid for by the public should be readable by the public and I think knowledge accumulates best through open discourse.
Worries we can reassure
We also hear other concerns which I think we can allay or redirect elsewhere.
I don’t like being told what to do!
We are here in the library to be helpful. We have no policing function and (I) don’t want one.
I want to control where and when and how I publish!
We are available to advise on your options. We don’t lean on your choices. We do promote Open Access.
I’m critical of the Open Access movement.
Please do join the debate worldwide and in your area. We think Open Access is part of the current environment and has strong advantages for researchers and global knowledge. Come chat with us!
I’m worried about including material which is copyright.
We can check and advise on third party copyright material. For example, it is common to take a thesis and change certain material that can be included for examination purposes to a reference ready for our repository version. We do have a takedown policy, not that we’ve ever needed it.
I might want to publish elsewhere.
Depositing in LRA doesn’t change your copyright in your work and so doesn’t stop you publishing elsewhere.
I’m worried I won’t be able to publish in a journal, would break my agreement with a journal or lose the opportunity to publish.
That won’t happen. Both publishing in a journal and deposit in an official repository have coexisted for a number of years in university research.
Before making your work available, we will check with your journal to make sure you are compliant with both your funder and university and the journal. Many journals have embargo periods and we are set up to work with them.
Which format? Which version? Can’t you just take the journal copy?
We usually take your final author version in PDF: the version you send to the publisher after corrections and before they do their typesetting. For some journals, we can use the journal copy, see Sherpa, or we’ll check for you. Usually we can’t use the journal version. Some journals do typesetting during the review process: we can advise on what to do in that case.
We’ll always check version and format before anything becomes visible and will make format conversions or contact you if we need anything different.
It is extra work.
Not very much. A CC on an email or a file upload from our Current Research Information Service which takes a few seconds. We hope this will become a quick and standard part of publishing research.
What’s in it for me?
More access to your research so more people finding it, reading it, citing it and impacting the world. Changing the World! Fame! Fortune! (OK, there is an amount of hype out there but we do have evidence of higher citation rates etc.)
I have a webpage…
Good for you! Please do still give us a copy of your research for long term systematic curation and sharing. You might share a copy on your page too, or simply link to our persistent URL and people can click through and read what you have to say.
What about plagiarism of my work?
How about publishing first and making sure your work is properly connected with you?
I have other, fuzzier or private concerns
I acknowledge that many people, no matter how brilliant, can worry about being good enough, exposure, embarrassing criticism, personal attack couched in academic language and the like (perhaps more harshly felt by some underrepresented groups).
I don’t feel that Open Access causes these problems or can really address them and that they should be considered as part of the research environment and how we as individuals navigate it and reproduce or resist it.
I’m deliberately writing this as a blog and getting it out there for comment in order to enhance my own thinking on the matter rather than trying to argue from a position of intellectual strength through peer review and the like.
This isn’t written as a group position but my own. We are updating our webpages now with a more thought out description of what we can do for you.
I could edit and wait, but would rather press Publish.