How to make your work OA if you’re not publishing in OA Journal

How to make your work OA if you’re not publishing in an OA Journal?


All too often, Open Access is being narrowed down to Open Access publishing.  Whether this is done intently or only due to lack of information is not always clear – but we’d like to point out that there is an easy alternative available: Open Access through self-archiving. This is how it’s done:

  1. Go find the ‘author version’ or ‘post-print’ of your publication.
  2. Make sure that this post-print can be properly cited
  3. Upload the document in your repository and indicate that it is Open Access
  4. Watch how your work becomes immediately more visible!

Most publishers allow self-archiving in repositories, although they often ask only to deposit an author’s final version (post-print, which is the final peer reviewed version without publisher’s layout) and sometimes impose an embargo (usually 6 months for STEM and 12 months for HSS) . Publisher’s policies relating to this can be checked at the SHERPA/RoMEO website.

This means that you deposit an Open Access version of your work in your institutional repository or disciplinary repository. A lot of institutions and funders even make deposition of your work mandatory. For example, in Belgium both ULg and UGent have a strickt ID/OA mandate, making deposition a requirement and strongly encouraging providing Open Access. It is to be expected that other funders and universities will soon follow this example. For an overview of mandates you can check ROARMAP.

There are several resources to find repositories (Quite recently, specialized repositories for research data can also be found – usually but not necessarily specialized per subject):


Many researchers indicate that they don’t want to publish in Open Access (or hybrid)  Journals. The reasons we hear most are (most of them are easily refutable, but that’s a topic for another post):

  • costs are too high for me/my research group
  • I want to publish in a specific non-Open Access Journal
  • There are no quality Open Access Journals in my field
  • Open Access Journals are perceived as ‘vanity publishing’

Although these reasons might prevent you from publishing with Open Access  Journals, they should not prevent you from making your work Open Access!


More questions? Ask your local repository manager for help (or drop us a line at )

cartoon PatCC-BY @hochstenbach

“How to make your paper Open Access at Ghent University”

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