Funding Agency Requirements for Open Access Publishing
Over the last couple of years, there has been a growing requirement in Sweden for academic publications to be made freely available (i.e. via open access). A number of Swedish universities has either mandates or policies that their researchers are to/should publish open access. Now, it is also so that the major Swedish research funding agencies also require that work that they have funded be published open access. Vetenskapsrådet (VR) was the first with the requirement pertaining to grants allocated 2010 and later. Other financing agencies have followed suit: Formas, Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, Knut och Alice Wallenbergs Stiftelse, Östersjöstiftelsen and Forskningsrådet för Arbetsliv och Socialvetenskap (FAS).
All of these have the same requirements. Journal and conference articles must be made freely available, with a maximum embargo period from the publication of the original article of 6 months. The latter applies to parallel publishing where some journals require that a parallel published version of an article not be made freely available until a number of months after the original publication of the article. Journal embargo periods vary from 0 to 24 months, normally.
Meeting Funding Agency OA Requirements
One has three choices to meet funding agency OA publishing requirements:
- Gold Open Access, i.e. publishing with an open access journal. The more common examples include BioMed Central journals and Public Library of Science (PloS) journals, but there are many more. The directory of open access journals (DOAJ) lists more than 6000 journals. These journals operate under different business models. About 50% charge a publication fee, usually around 10000 - 15000 SEK, which is a valid expenditure against a research grant. Gold Open Access is a recommended alternative.
- Hybrid Open Access, i.e. publish with a subscription-based journal but pay a fee to make an article freely available. Generally this costs about 30000 SEK per article. It is an expensive option for what one gets and only recommended when there is no other alternative.
- Green Open Access or Parallel publishing, i.e. make a version of the publication freely available via LiU E-Press (DiVA). Over 80% of journals allow parallel publishing. There are different rules, but most commonly one can parallel publish the "authors' last draft", a version from after peer review but prior to the journal doing an formating (so often an MS word file). LiU E-Press helps with the details. As long as the version that can be parallel published is from after the peer-review process and any embargo period is not longer than 6 months, then parallel publishing is a highly recommended way to meet funding agency OA publishing requirements.
- Recently VR has changed their policy and now allows parallel publishing via a researcher's webpage as an allowable alternative as a last resort (some publishers allow parallel publishing on a researcher's own webpage with no embargo whereas through DiVA there would be a 12+ month embargo). While this can be used to solve the problem of meeting VR's rules, it should not be considered a long-term solution to making your work available. Studies show that most researcher-run webpages disappear or change addresses after relatively short periods (< 5 years). We recommend that you parallel publish via your own webpage when it solve an immediate problem of meeting VR's rules, but to do so with a file that we have set up and parallel published in DiVA with an embargo (we can send that to you): the latter will ensure long-term availability to your work.
Where Parallel Publishing Does Not Meet the Requirements
One must be a little carefull when relying on parallel publishing as a solution to funding agency requirements. Journals from American Chemical Society, Taylor and Francis, Blackwell/Wiley, Oxford University Press, Sage...(note this is an example list and not necessarily exhaustive) have embargo periods that are 12 months and longer (or in the case of Blackwell/Wiley, some of the journals only allow the pre-peer-reviewed version). If you have published in these channels, the only option available to you is hybrid open access, if it is offered.
It is obvioulsy important to consider this prior to submission of articles, to avoid extra expenses when an article is accepted.