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Is it possible to publish all of our peer-reviewed articles in Open Access journals?

Date:16 October 2020
Author:Katja Loos
Open Research Award case study
Open Research Award case study

Two years ago, this journey started, and we started to submit our manuscripts exclusively to journals that are cover by the VNSU Open Access agreements. As a result, we were able to publish more than 95% of our manuscripts Open Access in this time period.

Description of the research context in which the open practices were employed
Our research is centered on polymer science. We publish in many different peer reviewed journals depended on the topic of the manuscript. All publishers, with whom the VNSU closed an agreement in recent years have journals in our filed which makes it in principle possible or publish our complete work open access.

What open practices were used and why
Our research group publishes around 25 peer-reviewed manuscripts per year. We were submitting all manuscripts of the last two years (that we submitted as corresponding authors) to Open Access peer-reviewed journals.

What barriers or challenges were encountered, and how these were handled
We frequently publish with other groups and in the case the other group works in an organization or country that does not have the same agreement with the publisher the manuscript will not be published open access.
In addition, the VNSU agreement does not cover all journals of a certain publisher. If an editor shifts the manuscript to another journal not covered after a couple of months in peer review it is very hard to lose these months for the young researchers involved. Some of the journals with the highest impact factor in the field are not covered under the VNSU agreement and as many of the young researcher are under pressure to publish in these journals the aim of publishing Open Access is at stake.

What benefits were realised, and for whom, as a result of using the open practices
Back when I did my PhD in the late 90s the polymer science community started one of the first online Open Access journals (epolymers). The idea was carried by many prominent professors in the field including my PhD advisor. If I remember correctly the main idea back, then was mainly reaching equal opportunity. Many regions of the world lack access to subscription-based journals and Open Access helps academics in developing counties to participate in the international research community.
While for me this is still the main driver to support Open Access publishing it is known that Open Access enhances visibility and impact of the published paper and that they are downloaded and cited more frequently than articles from non-Open Access journals. It is not possible to really judge the benefits of the fact that we published nearly all of our publications Open Access in the last two years. Visibility and impact can in our field just be quantified after a longer time.

Conclusion, summarising the main takeaway message
It is possible to publish the complete research work of our group in Open Access journals.

This submission is aligned to the Open Research objective “making the outputs of research, including publications, data, software and other research materials freely accessible”

About the author

Katja Loos
Katja Loos is Profesorr at the Faculty of Science and Engineering / Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials
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