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I paid $$$ – Where is my open access symbol?

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Researchers often pay substantial sums to make the results of their research freely accessible to all. But how to let potential readers know that it’s FREE?  If no one reads your open access paper, it’s like buying someone a gift certificate that they never use. So, the community has agreed on this solution: 

The open access symbol signals to readers that they can expect direct and unrestricted access to published scholarly works. Originally created by PLOS, it quickly gained broad usage on publisher webpages and other sites to identify open access articles. ScienceOpen displays this open access symbol on over 4 million articles.

So how does the open access symbol get there? When a publisher publishes an article, they deposit the article “metadata” – title, authors, abstract, journal, date, URL, etc. with the central DOI service Crossref. Part of the information that they can deposit is a machine-readable Creative Commons open access license. When ScienceOpen imports the metadata information about your publication, it will get an open access symbol if our computers find an open access license associated with it. If a publisher does not deposit license information, we assume that it is not open access. It’s that simple.

So what can you do?

As you put the finishing touches on your manuscript, you can check whether a potential publisher deposits license information by checking their Crossref Participation Report (Beta). If even the word “metadata” makes you want to get back into bed – try asking your librarian for support. They are experts!

If you already paid your APC and your article has no open access symbol, contact your journal or publisher directly and ask them to deposit your license information with Crossref or get in touch with ScienceOpen directly. As a special offer until the end of the year, ScienceOpen will update publisher content for free. If a publisher lets us know that they have added license information or abstracts to their Crossref metadata, we will upgrade those records in the ScienceOpen discovery environment.

Open Access: More than a free pdf

Big data, text mining, machine learning, artificial intelligence – these are the trends in scholarly communication that are shaping the future already. Your open access article is not only free for humans to read, but also for computers. Computers don’t care about impact factors, they care about structured information. They can uncover fascinating connections on the basis of your research. But only if the computer understands that it has permission to read your article – hence the importance of a machine-readable Creative Commons license. You paid your APC so make sure that you get the best possible digital distribution. Celebrate this Open Access Week by making sure you get your open access symbol!