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The Publication Process

This chapter will focus on text publications, which includes journal articles, monographs or contributions to edited collections.
Vintage diary, map and compass
© This work by Jessika Rücknagel is licensed under CC BY 4.0.

As mentioned, the term open access can apply to all kinds of scholarly information, however, this chapter will focus on text publications, which includes journal articles, monographs or contributions to edited collections. Which of these publication types are important to you will depend on your disciplinary background. Since the serials crisis played a significant role in the emergence of the open access movement, it is not surprising that a major part of the discussion around open access focuses on journals.

However, the topic of open access books has become increasingly important in recent years. Individual steps in the publication process may differ for different types of publications. In order to have a better understanding of the individual steps, the submission process of a journal article is outlined here:

To share your findings with the world and your colleagues you write a paper and decide to publish it as open access. In general, two publication strategies to achieve open access can be differentiated:

  1. primary publication in an open access journal, sometimes referred to as gold open access and
  2. secondary publication respectively self-archiving in an institutional or disciplinary repository, sometimes referred to as green open access.

Now you have to decide in which journal you would like to publish. If you are searching for an open access journal, firstly browse the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). It is a “community-curated online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals’’. The DOAJ is currently listing over 17,000 registered open access journals. You can search by subject, article processing charges, journal licence, publisher, country of publisher, and full text language, type of peer review, and archiving policy. Other databases can be used as well as long as you have a filter option to easily identify the open access journals. Alternatively, you can use B!SON, which is a service developed by the Technische Informationsbibliothek and the SLUB Dresden helping you to find a suitable journal by means of semantic and bibliometric methods.

If you have a manuscript of a book publication you can browse within the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB),(OAPEN 2020) or look at the OAPEN list of funder compliant book publishers (OAPEN 2019, List of). All publishers listed in these registries are open access book publishers, meaning that all manuscripts will be peer reviewed and after publication available under a creative commons licence. To guide you through the process of planning, writing and publishing an open access book OAPEN created the OA Books Toolkit (OAPEN 2019, Books Toolkit). The toolkit structured the process according to the research lifecycle. Within the “subchapters” you will find information on different topics, helping you to learn more about publishing your book as open access.

Talk to your mentors, librarians, and colleagues who have experience with scholarly communication, if you have concerns about a specific venue. These discussions can also help you to better assess whether or not you should submit your manuscript to a certain publisher or journal.

Now you have found a publisher and submitted your manuscript. The publisher’s editors check whether you have complied with the formal criteria of the publication platform and hand in the manuscript for review. How the review is implemented depends on a few factors, such as what form of quality assurance process is common for your discipline or what publication type you have created. In this respect, there is no difference between open access and closed access.

After your submission has been reviewed, you will receive feedback with comments and corrections. And of course you will be informed whether or not your submission is accepted. In general, you will need to incorporate feedback from the reviewers before final acceptance. This step helps to improve your work. After resubmission, it is possible that another round of review will follow. Then you have a finalised manuscript. Even if your work is rejected, you can improve your work according to the suggestions from the review and submit the manuscript to another publisher. In this scenario we assume that your work is accepted.

Before it is available to the public you will have to conclude a publication agreement with the publisher. This contract is very important, since it determines which rights of use you grant to the publisher and which terms of use will apply to the publication. This procedure in the publication process also does not differ between open access and closed access. If you publish open access your contract will be supplemented by an open access publication licence, through which you can grant users more extensive and precisely specified rights to use your work.

© This work by Jessika Rücknagel is licensed under CC BY 4.0.
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