Tips on Open Access Writing & Publishing

by Africa Hands, Head Editor, INALJ Kentucky

Tips on Open Access Writing & Publishing

africahLast month, I wrote about the 4 P’s of writing and publishing as described by Beth Evans during a NMRT webinar. For this month’s post, I continue the conversation this time looking at Maura Smale’s discussion open access publishing.

Maura Smale, Associate Professor and Information Literacy Librarian at New York City College of Technology, CUNY, discussed open access as a viable avenue for writing and publishing. According to Smale, writers pursue open access publishing because the traditional system of publishing is broken – authors give up copyright to publisher for free allowing publishers to profit and requiring libraries to buy access to articles through subscriptions. In this scenario publishers are definitely come out on top. Open access is an author-friendly alternative offering authors a broader reach to a variety of audiences, publication rights and flexibility to share articles, and sometimes more accessible analytics and citation statistics.

Smale mentioned two types of open access opportunities for writers to consider:

1) Gold Open Access, a fee-based option for authors and

2) Green Open Access, an option whereby publication costs are covered by subscription rather than the authors paying a fee.

How do you get started with open access writing and publishing? There are over 9,000 journals from 120 countries listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals. RoMEO is another open access journal database based at the University of Nottingham. Browsing by subject, country, or license, you will surely find journals related to your areas of interest. Don’t forget to look for journals outside libraryland to broaden your reach and, as Beth Evans mentioned, consider partnering with a colleague in a different field to increase exposure and opportunities. When you find a journal of interest and have spent some time getting to know its style and coverage, offer to serve as a peer reviewer. Smale served as a peer reviewer which led to an invitation to serve on a journal’s editorial board.

Maura Smale also encouraged writers to negotiate writing contracts. The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) offer some guidance on securing rights to your journal articles. Find your balance in writing and publishing and do as much as you are comfortable with based on your needs and the requirements of your institution.

Open access publishing is not equal to vanity publishing. The image of open access publishing is changing as more authors pursue this alternative to traditional publishing and more traditional publishers make the option available to its authors. Open access authors are awarded tenure and promotion. Smale is an example of this as she publishes almost exclusively in open access publications.

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