Open Access

Open Access (OA) offers you free online access to the results of academic research. Open Access funding varies and can for instance consist of contributions from authors or their institution, from publishers or sponsoring. In principle, the reader does not pay.

More information about Open Access can be found on the Biblio website, the Open Access Belgium website and in the presentation by Inge Van Nieuwerburgh during the Knowledge 2 Connect lunch meeting organised by the KCGG.

On Sep. 5th 2018, the Belgian Official Journal published an Open Access provision in the Belgian law. This law gives authors the right to make scholarly publications available in Open Access with a maximum embargo period of 12 months (humanities and social sciences) or 6 months (other sciences), if the publication is a result of research funded for at least 50% by public funds.

What does the law imply concretely?

  • The law legally allows an author to disseminate scholarly articles in Open Access. However, the author is not obliged but has the freedom to do so.
  • The publisher cannot oppose this right, for example via a clause in the publishing contract.
  • Only scholarly articles are subject to the law, other publications such as books, chapters, conference proceedings in books, are not.
  • Only the final peer reviewed manuscript can be used. This is the version after peer review, but not in the layout of the publisher. The publisher’s version can only be used if the publisher agrees. The latter can be checked via the Sherpa/Romeo database.
  • The law applies to everyone with a link to Belgium. E.g. authors with the Belgian nationality, working at a Belgian institution or whose research has been funded by a Belgian funder.
  • The law can be applied retroactively, which means the author can decide to open up old articles.
  • Reference should be made to the first edition.

The Directory of Open Access Journal gives you an overview of Open Access journals. Here you can check to see if the journal requests an Article Processing Charge (APC). An APC or Publication Fee is the cost price charged by the publisher of a journal for Open Access.

There are two options: the Green Road and the Gold Road for Open Access.

By choosing the Green Road for Open Access, the researcher himself deposits the publication in a repository. Go to the Sherpa/Romeo website and check the conditions of the journal in which you are publishing. There you will find which version of your article you are allowed to post in Open Access and which embargo period is used.

You can then upload your publication (in the correct version) in Biblio, the Institutional Repository of Ghent University. There are also other repositories where you can publish your article as Open Access. You can find these in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAR). Zenodo is also available for EU research.

With Gold Road for Open Access, you choose to publish in an Open Access journal. Be sure to check whether the journal requests an Article Processing Charge (APC) via the journal website and/or The Directory of Open Access journal.

The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAR) and Quality Open Access Market websites give an overview of journals that meet certain quality standards and can therefore be regarded as high quality. Both websites also give information about the Article Processing Charge (APC) of the journals.

If the journal is included in Web of Science or Scopus , this is also an indication of the quality level. However, these databases only include peer-reviewed journals, often with an impact factor. It might be that an Open Access journal has not been around long enough to have an impact factor but is still of high quality.

More tips can you find in the (re)search tip “Assess the quality of a scholarly journal”.

Predatory journals abuse the gold publication model by charging authors with an APC – Article Processing Charge – without submitting the article to (thorough) peer review. As a researcher, you definitely want to avoid those journals. However, how to keep track of quality in a publication landscape of tens of thousands of journals? You can find a few tips in the (re)search tip “Assess the quality of a scholarly journal”.

Some funding institutions, such as the EU, provide financing for an Article Processing Charge (APC). You can therefore apply for an FP7 post grant Open Access Fund up to 2 years (and maximum 3 publications per project) after the end of an FP7 project. For more information, see here. The costs of an Open Access publication are also covered for the duration of a Horizon2020 project. For more information about the conditions, see here.

Check the Biblio website to see for which journals UGent  gives a discount for the APC.

Tip: UGent recommends following the Green Road for Open Access (See How can I fulfil the wishes or obligations of Open Access?) in order to avoid the high costs of APCs.