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The open access movement traces its origins to the signing of the Budapest Open Access Initiative of 2002, which declared that the that the only barrier to accessing academic research should be technical barriers to using the Internet itself, and that anyone with an interest in academic research should be able to access it freely.
The main principle of open access (OA) is that research is free at the point of access. The sharing of research is possibly one of the most important aspects to scholarly communication, and OA not only challenges that aspect, but also spearheads the development of it.
There is no single way to engage in open access. Open access can be achieved by depositing research in an open access repository such as the University of Bolton Institutional Repository (UBIR) or by publishing in either an open access journal (such as those listed by the Directory of Open Access Journals – DOAJ) or paying for the article to be made open access in a more ‘traditional’ publication of the sort that is usually accessed by either personal or institutional subscription. This known as green open access. To pay for an article to be made open access is known as either an Article Processing Charge or an Author Pays Charge (APC). The former is a more accurate description. This is known as gold open access, and is the preferred method of open access as described by the Finch Report of 2012 which outlined ways in which OA needed to progress for the betterment of scholarly communication and the sharing of research.
Green OA is the depositing of research in an online database, or repository, such as UBIR. Many consider green OA to be more sustainable, in that authors can get involved quickly and easily and without additional costs. Green OA brings with it a number of concerns, none of which should be considered a barrier to engagement:
Gold OA is the publication of research in either an open access journal, or by paying a fee known as an Article/Author Processing Charge or APC to make the article open access in a more traditional publication. As with green open access, there are a number of concerns:
Engaging in open access can serve another purpose: to ensure that you are compliant with funder mandates for open access as well as REF 2021 submissions.
The easiest way to establish whether or not your research is required to be made open access if it has been funded is to consult the ROARMAP database, an international registry detailing university, research institutions and research funder mandates.
In addition, HEFCE have mandated that any outputs intended for REF 2021 are made open access immediately on publication from 1st April 2016. From this date until 1st April 2017 you have a grace period of three months.
A further element of open access compliancy is the making open access of research data, which again has been mandated by some funding councils such as the EPSRC. The guide for Research Data Management provides more information about this, including a link to the University of Bolton Research Data Management policy.
If you are planning on submitting outputs for REF 2021, you need to take heed of the HECFE policy on open access for REF 2021 which states that:
“to be eligible for submission to the post-2014 REF, authors’ final peer-reviewed manuscripts must have been deposited in an institutional or subject repository on acceptance for publication. Deposited material should be discoverable, and free to read and download, for anyone with an internet connection”
The simplest way in which you can comply with the HEFCE policy is to deposit your work in UBIR.
UBIR is the University of Bolton Institutional Repository. An online, searchable database, it aims to capture, store and preserve the intellectual output of the University of Bolton by making as many items as possible available as an open access item.
This section of this guide will tell you about open access, how you can get involved, why it is important to get involved in open access, and how you can access and get your work into UBIR.
Google Scholar is Google's academic search engine. It allows you to search for information published in journals and books, for example. It includes an increasing amount on open access material as well content that you would have to pay to access.