Varying degrees of open access

Categories: Open Access
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Published on: October 26, 2012

One of the things that this summer’s GARNet workshop, Making Data Accessible to All, made Ruth and I think about was the varying degrees of open access allowed by publishers. All journals accommodate open access, as some funding bodies now demand all research undertaken with their funds be published open access. This service is not free, so it will usually only be used when the funding body demands it. If open access is something you feel strongly about, PLOS have a useful ‘Open Access Spectrum,’ which can be used to judge journals on an open access grid. This may be useful in thinking about where to publish your work.

Publishing policies vary enormously. Some subscription-only journals allow open access after an embargo period of between six months and two years. Some journals allow authors to put their papers or toll-free links to the article on their personal websites or databases like PubMed Central if they chose to (sometimes immediately, sometimes after a set period of time), and others forbid any publication of their articles anywhere except the official, subscriber-only, journal website. It’s always worth a quick search for your paper if you can’t access it through the publisher – there could be an unofficial (but legal!) version or toll-free link out there somewhere!

There is information about specific plant journals below (feel free to leave a comment if I’ve missed anything out), but since it’s Friday, here is a slightly surreal and extremely one-sided video about academic publishing – thanks to aoholcombe:

First, fully open access publishers. PLOS and BioMedCentral are the main open access publishers, but please let me know if there are others. All their journals are free for anyone to access, and authors who publish with either of those publishers retain copyright for their work – with the understanding that they make the paper and data available for anyone to see. These journals include Plant Methods and BMC Plant Biology.

Journals published by Science are free a year after their original publication, although authors may put their papers on their own websites and use a toll-free ‘referrer link’ to their paper on the Science website before then. Nature Publishing Group (NPG) also allows authors to post their papers on their personal or institutional website, but they must wait six months to do so. Both publishers allow papers to be published on PubMed Central or other archive six months after they were originally published. NPG has an open access journal, Molecular Systems Biology.

Authors who publish in Plant Cell and Plant Physiology (published by ASPB) are provided with a toll-free link to the HTML and PDF versions of the article, which can be placed on personal and institutional websites. Papers are deposited in PubMedCentral a year after the date of publication.

Wiley-Blackwell have different open access policies for each journal, but Plant Cell & Environment, Molecular Plant Pathology, and Plant Pathology papers are subscriber-only for three years, while papers in The Plant Journal can be accessed for free after one year. PNAS (published by the National Acadamy of Science) has a shorter embargo period of six months.

Plant Science, Plant Physiology and Biochemistry, Physiological and Molecular Plant Pathology, and Phytochemistry, all published by Elsevier, and Planta (Springer), all forbid online publication of the final article anywhere except their own websites. However, authors may post different versions of the papers on their own websites or archives, if they cite and link to the original published article.

Annals of Botany, Journal of Plant Ecology, Molecular Plant, Journal of Experimental Botany, and Plant and Cell Physiology are all published by the Oxford University Press. They have either a 12 or 24 month embargo period. Annals of Botany Plants is fully open access.

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