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Open Access

On the 11th of February 2008 the vice-chancellor of SLU signed a policy where SLU scholars are requested to publish Open Access when possible (Dnr SLU ua 11-474/08).

Open Access publishing means that you are publishing in Open Access journals or depositing a copy of an already published article in for example Epsilon Open Archive. Open Access, in other words, means that science is made available for free on the web.

Scientific publishing is considered Open Access when the contents are made permanently available on the Internet, free of charge. Anyone with an internet connection can then read, quote, download and print the scientific articles without fees or other restrictions.

For a quick summary, read the Open Access Overview by Peter Suber, of SPARC. Suber's text Six things that researchers need to know about open access is also very informative.

How can researchers at SLU publish Open Access?

Researchers at SLU can contribute to Open Access publishing and at the same time increase the dissemination of their research results in two ways:

- either by publishing in Open Access journals

- or by publishing in a traditional journal and then parallel publishing in an Open Archive.

SLU maintains the Epsilon Open Archive, an institutional archive for deposition of publications produced at the SLU, such as reports, articles, books, conference proceedings etc.


Read more about ...

  1. Open access background
  2. Open access journals
  3. Parallell publishing
  4. Learn more

1. Open access background

For a long time the prevailing way to communicate science has been to publish articles in scientific journals. It still is, but during the last decades much has happened in the field of scientific communication. This development has given rise to partly new or diverse ways of publishing and new ideas about how science should be communicated. With the new technology, improving the communication between scholars, and partly new ways of publishing, the community of science has started questioning the dominant role of the publisher, seeking new ways to distribute and communicate science. One way is to break down the barrier between the producers of science and those who are interested in finding out about the results of science. This barrier is partly maintained by expensive subscription fees on traditional journals.

The scholars' Open Access-initiative took off during the early 1990s when scinetists startedusing FTP-archives where they deposited their reports and articles. By doing that others could download the material from their computers - a form of Open Access! It is by looking at early initiatives like these that you can understand the development into today's situation. The term Open Access contains both journals and depositing in Open Archives. Both these kinds of open access aim to make science available to all those who are interested in taking part of it. Depositing a copy of an already published article is a way to make access to the publication even though the journal where the article first appeared isn't an open access journal, read more under the heading Parallel publishing, below.

In 2003 The Association of Swedish Higher Education (Sveriges universitets- och högskoleförbund) signed The Berlin Declaration. The declaration aims at supporting Open Access Initiatives. The SLU policy should be seen in the light of that declaration. Today national and international initiatives from the community of science (e.g. scholars, universities and financers) put trust into the Open Access development. The universities' and financers' many policy-documents about Open Access make this evident.


Benefiting from Open Access

By Open Access publishing follows, as the SLU policy states:

  • Increased visibility for the research made at SLU: Several studies come to the conclusion that an Open Access publication is more read and gets cited more often.
  • Publishing in Epsilon's Open Archive can normally be done as soon as the article has been accepted by the journal. This speeds up the process of publishing.
  • Increased visibility and spread of SLU material contribute to market SLU and should attract scholars and students alike.
  • Institutions in The Third World, where SLU has collaborative projects, can take part of the scientific results made at SLU.
  • Opportunity to communicate directly to research politicians, administrators and experts within departments and authorities. All can findthe SLU OA-articles by Google search.
  • Savings in terms of reduced print costs when publishing reports and other publications electronically.
  • Publications from SLU are collected in a single comprehensive archive.
  • The archive is safe for long term depositing, instead of relying on the publisher.


Can you deposit in Epsilons Open Archive?

During the year 2007 the scholars of SLU published about 1100 articles, according to the publication database. These numbers were retrieved in January 2008. Of these articles at least 811 could be deposited in the Epsilon open archive without any further delay (this information can be found in RoMEO). Only 50 articles were published in journals where the publishers' policies state that depositing in Open Archives is not allowed, and for the remaining part (252 articles) there is no information easily available.

For SLU:s part the major publishers are Elsevier (326 SLU-articles in 2007), Springer Verlag (109 SLU-articles) and Taylor & Francis (50 SLU-articles). They all allow depositing copies of articles in Open Archives, provided their slightly different policies are respected. Read more about these policies at: Parallel Publishing.


2. Open Access journals

To understand how new ways of publishing have emerged and established themselves within the Open Access movement, it is important to know how publishing of so called traditional journals works. A common denominator of all the different types of publishing mentioned in this text is that they apply quality controls, usually peer reviewing, to gauge the scientific standard of the articles published.

Scientific journals can be categorized according to how they make their content available, how they handle copyright and how the publishing is financed.

  • Traditional journals require subscriptions for access, which leads to limited circulation and availability. The copyrights are normally signed over from the author to the publisher. Read more below.
  • Open Access journals provide unlimited circulation and availability of articles on the Internet. The author retains the copyrights. Publishing costs are normally covered by author fees, or in some cases membership fees or grants from research institutes or funding agencies. Read more below.
  • Hybrid journals are traditional journals that offer the author a choice between publishing the traditional way or Open Access, i.e. either for free but with limited circulation (since reading the article requires a subscription) or by paying a publication fee to make the article freely available. Read more below.

Two web based services in particular provide comprehensive lists of scientific quality controlled Open Access journals and hybrid journals:

DOAJ, Directory of Open Access Journals, lists more than 4000 quality controlled Open Access journals and also contains information on hybrid journals

JournalInfo offers information on traditional journals as well as Open Access journals. JournalInfo also makes suggestions of Open Access alternatives to a number of traditional journals.


Traditional journals

Publishing in traditional journals is still the prevailing form of publishing. Within many disciplines it remains the only relevant option for publishing an article in a highly ranked scientific journal (for more information on ranking with the Impact Factor measure, follow this link).
It is normally free of charge to publish in a traditional journal, but in some case author fees apply. The publishing and distribution costs are mostly covered by subscription fees – i.e. the readers of the journal pay for access. Many publishers of traditional journals, however, also allow the authors to parallel publish their articles in for example institutional online archives, provided certain conditions are met. Read more about how authors can make their publications freely available in such open archives in the section Parallel publishing.


Open Access journals

Open Access journals have emerged as alternatives to, and criticism of, the traditional journal publishing market. The basic idea is that research findings are to be published on the Internet, free of charge and available to all, to read, cite and download. Open Access journals are characterized on the one hand by making the journal contents freely available on the web, and on the other hand by letting the copyrights of the articles remain with the authors. It is of paramount importance to point out that scientific Open Access journals, like traditional ones, are quality controlled.
Of the world’s quality controlled scientific journals today, about 10-12 % are freely available. DOAJ, Directory of Open Access Journals, lists over 4000 such journals in April 2009.

There are some different financing models for Open Access journals, commercial as well as non-profit ones. These models have been developed as a criticism towards the traditional publishing financing system. In some cases, Open Access journals charge an author fee on accepting an article, which means the author’s department or research funder pays. Funding agencies may have specific portions of their grants set aside specifically to cover such publication fees. In other cases there are no fees at all. There are also some examples of discipline related financing – for example CERN, the largest high energy physics laboratory in the world, recently decided on an initiative aiming to make all scientific publication on particle physics freely available.


Hybrid journals

Several commercial publishers are now offering a publishing option where the author can pay a fee to make his/her specific article Open Access, within an otherwise traditional journal. That particular article is then freely available to all, even if the rest of the journal content is available by subscription only. The author, as an added bonus, also retains copyright of his/her article. Traditional journals with this added publishing option are called hybrid journals. Again, articles published in this way have undergone the same quality controls as the ones published in the traditional way.


3. Parallel publishing

Parallel publishing is one of two ways to publish Open Access (the other is to publish in Open Access journals). Parallel publishing, by depositing a copy of an article in an institutional or subject online archive, is a way for the scientist to make his/her publication freely available even when the journal which has accepted and published it is not an Open Access journal. Parallel publishing is often used as a synonym to self-archiving, though self-archiving can also mean that the author makes an article available on his/her own private web page. Raym Crow of SPARC (The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) defines an open institutional archive as:

/.../ a digital archive of the intellectual product created by the faculty, research staff and students of an institution and accessible to end users both within and outside of the institution (Crow 2002).

An open archive can be institutional, like for example the SLU Epsilon Open Archive, or subject based like Organic Eprints which archives documents on organic agriculture. In both cases anyone with an Internet connection can access the material.


Local depositing - global access

Even though an article is deposited in an electronic local archive like the open archive at SLU, its circulation will be global. The way this works in detail can be described by the routines the library follows when adding an article to the archive. It has to do with metadata - i.e. the bibliographic description of the document. In order to use the interoperability between different archives, i.e to navigate, analyze and retrieve documents in more than one open archive at a time, it is vital that everyone describes the documents in the same way, regardless of which archive the article was deposited in (Carr and Harnad 2007).

The metadata model or description of the publications in open archives has been developed by the Open Archives Initiative and the standard protocol is called OAI-PMH (Open Archives Initiative - Protocol for Metadata Harvesting). It was developed by scientists in co-operation with research libraries in the USA in 1999.

This standard can be used regardless of the content form of the database. Today, most archives containing scientific material support OAI-PMH. A good example of how this works in practice is OAIster, which retrieves scientific documents from more than 1100 universities, research organizations and institutes all over the world. The distribution ways for articles that have been parallel published are well developed and keep getting better, which makes these articles visible and accessible not only in traditional sources but also where articles published in traditional journals normally don't appear. This benefits the author, as well as those interested in his/her research.


Publishers' Open Access policies


Elsevier allows the author to parallel publish the article on a personal or institutional server. This means publishing in the SLU Epsilon Open archive is allowed with no need for a special agreement to be signed. Some conditions apply: The source name must be cited (i.e. journal name, volume, number and pages), a link to the journal's or publisher's webpage must be supplied, and the publisher PDF version cannot be used when depositing (this means the author does have the right to deposit the final version of the text itself, as it appears before the publisher applies the company logotype, text formatting and so on). A link to the article DOI (Digital Object Identifier) must also be included.

Springer Verlag:

Springer shares most of it conditions with Elsevier. Springer too requires that a set phrase with a link to the original publication is provided with the parallel published version: "The original publication is available at".

Taylor & Francis:

Taylor & Francis too allows parallel publishing, with no need for a special agreement to be signed. As with the previous publishers, the deposit must be made on a non-commercial server, the source must be clearly defined with links to the publisher and the journal, and the publisher PDF cannot be used. Taylor & Francis embargoes STM journals (Science, Technology and Medicine) for 12 months and SSH journals (Social Sciences and Humanities) for 18 months.

The information above on some publishers' policies was collected from the SHERPA/RoMEO website. Their search service RoMEO is designed to be a guide for authors wanting to parallel publish in an open archive. A large number of publishers and their copyright policies can be found here.

The Epsilon staff at the SLU libraries will be happy to help you make your publications comply with your publisher's conditions and to answer any questions you might have regarding parallel publishing.


4. Learn more about Open Access

DOAJ - Directory of Open Access Journals

When publishing in Open Access journals the published articles are quickly made available for free on the Internet and parts of the copyright are retained with the author. DOAJ lists more than 3850 peer-reviewed scientific journals that are Open Access. Also look at DOAJ for Authors to get help finding a suitable Open Access journal to publish in. DOAJ is provided by Lund university.

Journal Info

Journal Info is another help for researchers to find suitable journals to publish in. It is a database containing information about more than 18 000 journals, subscription based as well as Open Access. The data is collected and provided by Lund university.

BioMed Central

BioMed Central is a commercial publisher that publishes Open Access journals. SLU is a supporting member of BioMed Central and SLU researchers get a 15 % discount when publishing with BioMed Central. Find out which SLU researchers have already published with BMC.

PLoS - Public Library of Science

PLoS is a non-profit organization of scientists committed to making the world's scientific and medical literature accessible free of charge to scientists and to the public around the world, for the benefit of scientific progress, education and the public good. It has had great success with its journals within medicine and biology. The journal PLoS Biology, founded in 2003, has an impact factor of 14.3, and is among the top-ten journals in general biology.



Parallel publishing means that a research article is published in a traditional subscription journal and then also deposited in an open digital archive. SLU provides the Epsilon Open Archive, where our researchers can deposit their articles, reports, conference proceedings etc. In a traditional journal, published articles are only accessible through costly subscriptions, often provided to scientists through their institution's library. By also depositing a copy of their articles in an open archive, researchers facilitate others' access to significant texts and new findings, regardless of the readers' financial means.

Each journal publisher has its own policy for parallel publishing. To find out what policy applies to a certain journal, visit SHERPA/RoMEO - Publisher copyright policies & self-archiving. It keeps an extensive list of publishers and journals and describes their policies regarding other means of publishing, e.g. on the researcher's personal web page or in a university's open archive. Around 70 % of all scientific journals allow authors to deposit a copy of a published article in an open archive, without any special contracts, provided that certain terms are met.


Author Addendum

In some cases the publisher demands that the author asks special permission to retain the right to deposit an article in an open archive, like Epsilon. In these cases you can fill in the SPARC author addendum (PDF-file) and enclose it with the publishing contract. Read SPARC's information on how the addendum is used.

An alternative to traditional publishing agreements is to offer an article under a Creative Commons licence (CCL). There are a number of different licences, where the authors choose sets of conditions they wish to apply to their work. Not all publishers will accept these licenses, as they are designed to let the authors keep a major part of the copyrights. CCL offers information about their licences here.


Permission to include an article in a thesis

To obtain permission to include your already published articles in your final thesis, and also for its electronic publishing in Epsilon, you may use an addendum provided by the SLU: Request to use material included in the electronic version, Doctoral dissertation at SLU (PDF-file). NB: If an agreement or addendum described in the sections above is used, the SLU addendum is not necessary.

National and international support for Open Access

The Berlin declaration

The Berlin declaration (PDF-file) was written after a conference held in Berlin 2003, defining and encouraging Open Access. Read more about it here.

The Association of Swedish Higher Education (SUHF)

SUHF signed the Berlin declaration (PDF-file) in 2004, thereby declaring itself to be in favour of Open Access.

The Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet)

The Swedish Research Council signed the Berlin declaration in 2005 and, as a research funder, is actively looking for ways to further support Open Access. The Council also signed the petition to the EU commission, requesting open access to publicly funded research. In Swedish only: Pressmeddelande.

ScieCom - Swedish resource centre for scientific communication

ScieCom is a national resource for copyright issues in scientific publishing. ScieCom and ScieCom info – a Nordic-Baltic Forum for Scientific Communication - are financed and supported by the Royal Library of Sweden, the Swedish Research Council and NordBib.

Higher education

Some examples of well-known institutions of higher education and research with mandated open access are Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard Law School, Stanford School of Education and MIT.


Full text archives

The Epsilon open archive is one of many full text archives. Some others can be found here:

OAIster is a search service harvesting data from more than 1100 freely available, mostly academic, full text archives including the SLU Epsilon. Produced by Univ. of Michigan Digital Library Production Services, USA.

BASE - Bielefeld Academic Search Engine
BASE is a multidisciplinary search service for full text archives, including Epsilon, and other scientific sources of information. Read more ...

Get free access to research material from Dutch universities through this meta-search service.

Uppsök contains undergraduate theses from Swedish universities in full text.

Further information

Open Access information. Swedish project maintained by six universities, about Open Access, copyright, background, scholarly communication etc. Pages in English.

A short history of Open Access: Timeline of the Open Access Movement, by Peter Suber (SPARC).

Kungliga bibliotekets webbplats

Carr, L. and S. Harnad (2007). "Keystroke Economy: A Study of the Time and Effort Involved in Self-Archiving".

Crow, R. (2002). "The Case for Institutional Repositories: A SPARC Position Paper." The Case for Institutional Repositories: A SPARC Position Paper.

Lundén, T. (2008). "Publicering i öppna arkiv."


Related links

SLU Open Access policy (in Swedish only)

Epsilon Open Archive

FAQ Open Archive

Six things that researchers need to know about open access

Questions about the archive, publishing, Open Access or copyright legislation? Please Contact the Epsilon team.

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