Open Access (OA) is the immediate, online, free availability of research outputs. There are several ways to publish in Open Access. You can:

Achieving Open Access through self-archiving your work is commonly referred to as ‘Green Open Access’. Researchers publish their article in a journal and deposit an open access version of their work in a repository. Repositories are digital archives, gathering either the research output from an institution (institutional repository) or the research output from one or more scientific disciplines (subject/disciplinary repository).

4 simple steps to Open Access

  1. Submit a paper to a journal of your choice. You are not restricted to Open Access journals.
  2. Deposit either the published manuscript or the final peer-reviewed version in an Open Access repository as soon as possible. This is preferably the repository of your institution. It is not enough to add the publications to Dropbox, project websites, or academic social networks such as ResearchGate. You could find a repository via registries: ROAR or OpenDOAR. If you have trouble locating a suitable repository, contact your institutional librarian.
  3. Acknowledge project funding, possible embargo periods and all other relevant information in the metadata when uploading your article.
  4. Ensure open access to the deposited publication via the repository. Check the publisher’s policy to determine which version you can upload and if an embargo period applies, see the Sherpa/Romeo database.

→ Your publication will now be visible through the repository, making it more visible, easier to cite and to share while at the same time securing long-lasting archiving

Publishers policies

Different publishers have different policies regarding self-archiving of research papers in a repository. You can check if publishers policies allow self-archiving and whether there are limitations in terms of versioning or embargo’s apply here: Sherpa/Romeo database. You should also consider the following:

Ideally, as an author, you keep your author rights and apply a suitable open license. There are many options, such as Creative Commons. If your publisher does not allow self-archiving you can ask for an amendment to your publishing agreement.

Belgium has an exception in its copyright in favour of Open Access to scientific publications. According to this law, you are always allowed to make the final peer-reviewed version of your journal article available in OA via a repository after an embargo period of 6 (STEM) or 12 (HSS) months, no matter what the contract with the publisher says. For more information and the conditions for this article to apply, see: Belgian open access legislation

Schematic overview of different routes to Open Access for publications.

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