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Open access

Open access is the immediate online availability of academic research papers with no access fees and free from most copyright and licensing restrictions. The aim of open access is to increase free online access to publicly funded research findings.

According to HEFCE the benefits of open access are that the prompt and widespread dissemination of research findings will:

  • inform researchers of new discoveries in their field
  • stimulate the sharing and discussion of their findings effectively with a wide group of their peers
  • accelerate the impact of their work both within and beyond the academic community
  • support the economic, social and cultural development of the country
  • increase the public understanding of research.

HEFCE have introduced an open access requirement for the next Research Excellence Framework. The core of HEFCE policy is that journal articles and conference proceedings must be available in an open access form to be eligible for the next REF. In practice, this means that these outputs must be uploaded to an institutional or subject repository at the point of acceptance for publication. This policy comes into force on 1st April 2016.

There is an Edge Hill University Open Access Policy that applies from April 2015 – this can be access by staff on the Research Office wiki. The guide Why you should publish your research in open access contains more information.

SHERPA/RoMEO is a JISC database that shows you which publishers will allow the archiving of their content. Simply type in the name or ISSN of the journal in question.

Sherpa Juliet is a JISC database detailing research funders’ open access policies. Simply type in the funders name to view their open access requirements.

Open access resources

There are numerous sites where you can locate open access research material.

BASE (Bielefeld Academic Search Engine) BASE provides more than 100 million documents from more than 5,000 sources. You can access the full texts of about 60% of the indexed documents for free (Open Access)

CORE aggregates open access research outputs from repositories and journals worldwide

Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)  is a community-curated online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals.

Directory of Open Access Books  is a discovery service for peer reviewed books published under an open access licence. DOAB provides a searchable index to the information about these books, with links to the full texts of the publications at the publisher’s website or repository

OpenDOAR  is a directory of open access repositories where you can search for repositories or search repositories contents

SSRN provides 751,159 research papers (including working papers and conference papers) from 349,809 researchers across 30 disciplines. it is composed of a number of specialized research networks mainly in the social sciences but has recently added chemistry and biology networks.