As recently announced, the University now has an institutional fund dedicated to helping Essex researchers make their work available open access (OA).
The new open access fund exists to enable Essex researchers to publish their work open access; that is freely available for everyone to read, download, and share. Open access (OA) content is free from the traditional barriers that have limited access to new research. These barriers are primarily either not being affiliated with a University that has access to the content, or not being able to personally pay the cost of a book or journal, whether print or digital.
OA is here to stay. It is already well-established with researchers, and is ever more important to funders. It will also be a major consideration in the next REF. Open access is therefore quickly becoming the new normal. Anyone with internet access can find and download an OA work, so it solves many of the issues that could limit the spread of new academic knowledge. It removes barriers for readers, and likewise dramatically increases availability. This is especially true for OA books, as they are free of the restrictive publisher-added licences that limit access to ebooks.
An open access book, for example, can (and should) be available to download directly from the publisher’s website, ideally with the choice of pdf and epub formats. OA books are also free from any viewing restrictions, meaning any number of students and researchers can read the content at the same time. There’s really no limit to who can read and benefit from open access content.
The benefits of open access also extend to authors of the OA content. The broad, free access to research means a greater likelihood of citations, and in turn an even greater impact on the work of other researchers, plus increased research visibility. In many cases, however, publishing OA work is not free. Authors regularly face costs, mostly in the form of article, book or chapter processing charges levied by publishers. This is where the OA fund comes in.
Any researcher based at the University of Essex. The main thing to bear in mind is that you do still have to be at the University come the publication date of your article, book, or chapter.
The quickest way is to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can discuss the options.
The Library has also prepared information pages with the latest relevant details on all aspects of OA and publishing. There’s guidance on all the different forms that OA can take, as well as details on licences so that you can maintain copyright and choose how (or whether) your work can be used and adapted by others.
If it’s an article that you are looking to publish, why not start with information on the read and publish agreements that we have, which include cost-free OA publishing access alongside full reader subscription to hundreds of journals. If the journal you’re looking to publish in isn’t covered by a read and publish agreement get in touch, as if it’s a fully gold open access journal our OA fund should be able to help.
We’re also able to use the fund to cover the costs of publishing books open access. We already have a good number of prospective OA titles in our system, with several more having been added just since the start of August (2023), so word is clearly spreading. Our information pages include advice about monograph publishing and details of some OA publishers.
There’s lots of useful detail on these pages and I spent many hours absorbing as much of it as I could when I joined recently.
I’m Sean Andersson, the new Open Access Fund Co-ordinator. I’m here to answer enquiries and to promote and facilitate use of the fund.
My background is in publishing, where I mostly worked on marketing academic books for independent publishers. I’ve been working with academics, and working on their books, for over 20 years and am very excited to be on this side of the research publishing fence now. Marketing open access books was always a real pleasure. Being able to share an entire new work through a link on social media, to academic journals, or to a listserv group was genuinely exciting: at the touch of a button a major work could be made available to everyone everywhere. Responses and feedback would start appearing within hours. Bear in mind the traditional route to market an academic title is a review, and we know that academic reviews can take well over a year to appear. (I once had a book reviewed eight years after it was published, by which time it had gone out of print…another pitfall that OA avoids). Next would be some price promotions to relevant societies, assuming that they existed, were contactable, and didn’t mind this commercial approach; the snag was that a discount, usually 25%, off a book priced at £125 wasn’t that enticing to very many society members.
An OA book can benefit hugely from traditional marketing, and I’ll be only too happy to discuss this with authors and to see if there’s anything we can do alongside the work of their publishers. Soon we’ll have some marketing tips for books and articles on our open access publishing pages, as well as on social media at the Library’s Twitter / X (or TwiX, as we call it now) page and our LinkedIn account.
Enquiries to answer, information to share, and great research to help get published! We hope that as awareness of the fund grows, we will see many more Essex works enjoy the benefits of OA. Works like The Marion Milner Method: Psychoanalysis, Autobiography, Creativity, by Emilia Halton-Hernandez, published in OA, hardback and paperback by Routledge in April this year, the first book covered by the new fund.