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Archive for April, 2012

In a briefing commissioned by Research Libraries UK (RLUK) and the Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL), Alma Swan highlights the benefits that open access has for researchers, their institutions, and society at large.

The briefing revisits the benefits that open access has for the visibility, usage, and citation impact of research publications; benefits that are the more immediate the earlier a paper is freely accessible.  These benefits, in turn, stretch beyond the individual researcher: by placing their publications in open access repositories like Surrey Research Insight Open Access, Universities develop a strong web presence, visible outside the academic world. This helps forge relationships between the University and business and industrial partners, thus contributing to the knowledge economy.

If open access is widely adopted by institutions, Alma Swan concludes, this will have large economic benefits, not only for institutions but also for whole countries. By freeing knowledge and widening our concept of the research community, the UK could enjoy savings of around 400 million a year.

Also see Houghton et al. (2009) on the economic implications  of open access.

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SRI Open Access is primarily a full text repository; however, it now includes abstracts only for special types of research outputs. Surrey staff advance on research not only by writing journal papers, but also by by writing book and book chapters and creating compositions, performances, artefacts, patents, images, videos, computing programs, etc.

SRI Open Access contains bibliographic data with abstracts for books and book chapters as well as for any other research output whose visibility might be much lower in comparison to journal articles or that it can not be made publicly available.  However, SRI Open Access contains neither bibliographic data  alone for any type of publication nor bibliographic data with abstract for journal articles.

SRI Open Access can hold a variety of files, such as video, audio and zip files, among others.

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In the last few months, you have been strongly encouraged to deposit the full text of your papers in SRI. If the publisher’s policy allows, the paper appears on SRI Open Access, easily discoverable and freely available for anyone to download. Most major funding bodies, including RCUK, now encourage or even mandate this practice; and so do Universities.  But if you are not  convinced there are great benefits in depositing your papers in SRI, read below…

1. SRI Open Access makes a paper highly visible. If your paper can be posted on SRI Open Access, it will rank highly on Google/Google Scholar. This means that more people than before will be able to find it and read it.

2. Papers in SRI Open Access are downloaded – a lot.  In the last year only (April 2011 – April 2012), full-text papers in SRI Open Access have been downloaded 230,238 times. Visit  http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/cgi/irstats.cgi to monitor how often your paper is being downloaded.

3. High download rates mean higher citations. The more often a paper is downloaded, the more likely it is to be read and cited. The link between open access and research impact is well documented. By not having your paper freely accessible, you lose potential readers – and citations.

4. SRI Open Access helps you attract new audiences. Your papers are freely available to everyone, without password or subscription barriers. This means that many more people will reach your paper if it is openly accessible: researchers from non-subscribing Universities, potential collaborators from industry and other organisations, and prospective students. SRI papers are widely read, with downloads from over 100 countries.

5. Open access has wider benefits for society. Scholarly journals are expensive. Open access benefits Universities that can only afford subscriptions to a limited number of journals. Even wealthy institutions cannot  subscribe to all possible journals. This means that researchers, as well as their employers and funders, may not  even have access to literature that they produced or funded themselves. Likewise, those not affiliated with a research institution – practitioners, patients, the wider public – face the same limitations to access.

Open access lifts those barriers, making research immediately and easily available to everyone.

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Researchers can comply with RCs’ mandate following two paths: the Gold Open Access path and the Green Open Access option.  Gold Open Access involves a fee that authors or their funders must pay to publishers to make their papers open access immediately after publication.  Green Open Access means that authors can post their publications in an institutional repository, such as Surrey Research Insight Open Access, and there is no fee involved.  To follow this path, always keep your final, peer-reviewed, accepted version and upload it via Surrey Research Insight Publications Database.  Most publishers allow authors to post the author’s version in an institutional repository rather than the typeset and formated version.

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