What is an Open Access Publication?

The primary way of communicating scientific results is through scholarly articles published in journals. Making these articles Open Access (OA) means making sure they are digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions [6].

Open Access gives anyone with an internet connection the ability to access, use, and build upon the knowledge contained in publications, leading to accelerated discovery and innovation. You can read more about the types, advantages, disadvantages, and different perspectives on OA publications in Peter Suber’s book [6].

publishing timeline

The Open Access best practices in this section are for primary original work intended for peer review and publication. The life cycle of a scientific manuscript will initially involve a non-reviewed version (aka. submitted manuscript), then evolve into a reviewed but unformatted version (aka. accepted version), and finally the version that appears in a journal (aka. published version).

As explained in this section, there are options for making any and all of these versions Open Access, though there are caveats that you will need to consider.

Why Make Publications Open Access?

There are many reasons to make your publications Open Access. Some of the most important are:

  1. It is a core component of The Neuro's first Open Science Principle [7]:

The Neuro and its researchers will publish open access articles and render all positive and negative numerical data, models used, data sources, materials, reagents, algorithms, software and other scientific resources publicly available no later than the publication date of the first article that relies on this data or resource.

2. It is required by a growing number of funders through Open Access policies, including the TriCouncil (CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC), Genome Canada and the FRQ, and many foundations that support the work we do at the Neuro. Making your publication Open Access is commonly required within a 12-month period after the date of publication. That said, each funder has different regulations. Most journals comply (they want to align with what the funders tell their authors), but not all do. These are things you need to check before you choose which journal to submit your manuscript to. [8][9][19]

3. Open Access leads to higher visibility and citation counts for your work [10].

4. Open Access makes it easier for the content to be accessed and built upon by stakeholders who can make the best use of it, including other researchers, patients, physicians, the (tax-paying) public, and policymakers. Importantly, OA allows researchers working in under-resourced countries or institutions to access and use your work [11].

Ultimately, The Neuro encourages its researchers to publish their work wherever it will achieve maximum scientific impact and readership. This best practices section will help you make sure that, regardless of where you publish for maximum impact, you can also do so as openly as possible.

About this document:

Unless otherwise indicated, all content on these pages is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0). Please attribute it to TOSI (the Tanenbaum Open Science Institute), this web page, and the contributors listed below.

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The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital) is a bilingual academic healthcare institution. We are a McGill research and teaching institute; delivering high-quality patient care, as part of the Neuroscience Mission of the McGill University Health Centre. We are proud to be a Killam Institution, supported by the Killam Trusts.



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