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Open Access 101: For Authors and Researchers

A guide for potential authors and researchers to introduce you to open access and how it may impact you.

Author Rights & Addendums

Authors hold the copyright on their works until they sign it over to a publisher. When signing a copyright transfer agreement form, authors can use the resources below to modify the agreement and retain certain rights to their work:  

SPARC Guide to Author Rights/SPARC Author Addendum - This guide by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition gives an introduction to author rights and provides a form that you can use to modify a publication agreement to retain more rights to your work. 

Scholar's Copyright Addendum Engine - The Scholar's Copyright Addendum Engine will help you generate a form that you can attach to a journal's copyright agreement to ensure that you retain certain rights. 

Predatory Journals and Quality Control

"Predatory journals and publishers are entities that prioritize self-interest at the expense of scholarship and are characterized by false or misleading information, deviation from best editorial and publication practices, a lack of transparency, and/or the use of aggressive and indiscriminate solicitation practices."

Grudniewicz A, Moher D, Cobey KD, Bryson GL, Cukier S, Allen K, et al. Predatory journals: no definition, no defence. Nature (London). 2019;576(7786):210-2..

When choosing to publish in OA journals, it is important to ensure that the journal you choose is a reputable scholarly journal and not one of the ones considered "predatory".

Resources to Avoid Predatory Publishers

  1. Refer to the checklist available at Think. Check. Submit, a cross-industry initiative led by representatives from ALPSP, DOAJ, INASP, ISSN, LIBER, OASPA, STM, UKSG, and individual publishers.
  2. You can refer to this handout from the University of Toronto, Identifying Deceptive Publishers: A Checklist (2018).
  3. The Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) also has a handout on How to Assess a Journal (2017).
  4. Consult this systematic review from BMC Medicine on Checklists to Detect Potential Predatory Biomedical Journals (2020). 
  5. If still in doubt, contact your Information Specialist to help assess journal publishers.

What repositories can I archive my manuscript in?

OpenDOAR is an authorative directory author's can use to find an academic online repository. The staff that run OpenDOAR check each repository on the list to check the information recorded in the directory. Authors can search for repositories or search the contents of different repositories. 

Here are some institutional repositories in Toronto to consider:

To find out whether a publisher or journal allows for self-archiving, take a look at SHERPA/RoMEO's Publisher Copyright Policies and Self Archiving page. 

What journal should I publish in?

The best place to find a reputable, peer-reviewed open access journal is through the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). This is a quality-controlled directory that journals have to apply to in order to be included on the list. The directory can be searched by subject, country, license, or publication charges. While this list is not exhaustive, it is the most comprehensive resource for find an open access journal. 

Some examples of open access publishers: