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Publishing open access

Open access is a publishing model that makes research available to readers at no cost. There are a number of different models within open access publishing, namely:

'Gold' open access: Where a publisher makes the work openly available at publication, either through a fully open access journal, or by making a single article open access in an otherwise subscription journal (these are referred to as 'hybrid'  journals). There is usually an Article Processing Charge (APC) to pay with Gold open access. 

'Diamond' open access: Similar to Gold open access, except that the journal does not charge any APCs because the cost of open access has been subsidised.

'Green' open access (also known as 'self-archiving'): Where the author shares their accepted manuscript in a repository following any embargo periods required by their publisher.

If you are a Cambridge researcher publishing an article resulting from research funded by the UK Research Councils, Cancer Research UK, British Heart Foundation or the Wellcome Trust, then the Open Access Service can facilitate payment on your behalf. Simply submit your accepted manuscript

The Cambridge University Open Access Policy Framework recommends Green OA (self-archiving) as the most cost-effective, sustainable way to achieve greater public access to research outputs and supports Green OA through the development of its institutional repository, or through subject based repositories and other open websites. There are no centralised University funds to pay for Open Access. Researchers who are unfunded are welcome to make their work Open Access by submitting their author's accepted manuscript to the Open Access Service team who will make the work available in the University repository (Apollo) in accordance with publisher policies.

Alternative ways to assess value in journals

Prestige and readership are often cited as the main reasons for paying to publish. Publication marks the last step in the scientific process, so selecting the right journal to publish in is paramount. Journal selection can be a daunting task, but authors can get help from various online tools and platforms such as Think.Check.Submit, FindMyJournal,Sherpa RomeoPlan S Journal Checker, and DOAJ

In selecting a journal, consider the fields of study, audience/readership, content and coverage, publication lag time and frequency, and open access policies.

Recently some new ways have opened up to assess the value that authors receive for their contribution (both in terms of contribution of content and contribution through subscriptions and article processing charges). Here is a small sample.

JournalGuide For biomedical researchers JournalGuide provides a matching service for authors to help them identify the right journal for their article.  Information includes details aobut the journal's scope, speed of rejection or approval, publication speed and cost plus the journal's Open Access policy.
Quality Open Access Market A European inititiave, Quality Open Access Market aims to provide 'Journal Score Cards' ranking quality of service against price and also lists publication fees of journals. Authors input rankings on editorial information, peer review, process and governance.
Journal Openness Index In Librarian, Heal Thyself:  A Scholarly Communication Analysis of LIS Journals, Micah Vandegrifth and Chealsye Bowley propose a mew metric to rank journals - the Journal Oppenness Index - which grades journals on how 'open' they are.
Principles of Transparency The DOAJ, together with the Committee on Publication Ethics, Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association and the World Association of Medical Editors have collaborated to produce these principles which cover things to look out for - from peer review to licensing information.