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For more, see my: Introduction to Open Access publishing in philosophy or my German „Open Access in der Philosophie

Very Short Introduction to Open Access Publishing in PhilosophyOpen Access Logo

The Open Access movement promotes free access to academic articles and books through the web. This can be done by uploading texts that have been published in a traditional paper journal (‘green OA’) or by publishing in open access journals (‘golden OA’) like Philosophers' Imprint or Ergo (which are, of course, refereed like other journals too). It would be great if many of the established journals became open access journals, but this is not required for achieving open access. (Comment: Publishers are trying to promote open access where the authors have to pay fees. That should be resisted.)

Do This

Upload (‘post’, ‘self-archive’) all your publications to an open access repository. You can find one through DOAR or ROAR. There is likely to be one at your institution. Or use Sammelpunkt, which all philosophers can use. A repository is a much more suitable place for your articles than your homepage or social networks like Academia.edu. Reasons: Open access repositories use special (OAI) metadata, therefore the content is not only found by general search engines but also by special open access search engines like OAIster and BASE. In an open access repository every text is assigned a long term stable URL. Long term storage is secured. The date of the uploading is stored, with this you can prove the priority of your idea.

When? If you did not sign any agreement with the journal, you are allowed to post the article 12 months after publication. The same is true for articles in edited books. Most agreements allow self-archiving after 12 months, only some allow it only after 24 months, e.g. MIND. Today no journal forbids self-archiving. (Please tell me if you find counter-examples!)

What many do not know: It is possible and advisable to post an article already before one submits it (preprint), as it is customary, for example, in physics. (Even MIND allows that.) Only journals with the Ingelfinger rule refuse articles that have been posted already, but no philosophy journal uses that rule. 12 or 24 months after the publication you should then post the published version (postprint). On the page of the preprint in the repository there will be a link to the page of the postprint. Later you can post improved versions.

On your homepage, make a list of all your publications with links to the entries in the repository.

Before you upload an article, please format it suitably, i.e. please not double-spaced. Format it single-spaced, with justification, hyphenation, page numbers, with a readable serif font like Garamond, Cambria, or Palatino, lines no longer than 66 characters. Especially convenient is paper format A5 with font-size 11 pt. If you use MS Word or Writer, use paragraph styles. Try this template for Word or Writer. If you use LaTeX, that produces produces perfect typesetting without requiring knowledge about typesetting. Try this template. Instead you might like LyX.

If you are not using PhilPapers yet, look at it and register, it is a magnificient platform. Make sure that all your articles are listed there. Most of them may already be there, because journals feed data into PhilPapers and PhilPapers crawls repositories. When you upload a preprint to a repository, create an entry in PhilPapers and add a link to the entry in the repository. Categorize all your texts carefully. Normally a text should be in only one, maximally three leaf categories. You can also upload files to PhilPapers, but there are some disadvantages of uploading there rather than to a normal repository (which uses the EPrints software): The content is not found with OA search engines like OAIster and BASE; it does not save the date of the uploading; it does not link different versions of an article with each other (so it does not put in the entry of the preprint version of an article a link to the postprint version).

Further Information

Open Access for Books

Open access for books is less common but nevertheless advantageous. If a book is available for download and on paper, often that even does not decrease but increase sales numbers of the paper book. One way to do it that has only advantages is to self-archive the book as PDF (and ideally, for ebook readers, EPUB additionally) some time after its publication. For this it is necessary to not grant the publisher an exclusive license for ‘the full period of copyright’, because that would prevent you from self-archiving your book until 70 years after your death! Negotiating with the publisher, limit the exclusive license or retain the right to self-archive at least after a reasonable time. That could be one year, or two, or five – but an exclusive license for the publisher lasting until 70 years after your death just is not a reasonable proposal.

The second way to publish a book open access, offering the book simultaneously on paper and as a file, is to publish it with an academic open access book publisher. Examples: Open Book Publishers, Open Humanities Press, Bloomsbury Academic.

A third way to publish a book open access is to let a suitable print on demand publisher (POD) produce it. The author gives no exclusive rights away. The author's reputation, an editor's reputation, recommendations by well-known philosophers, a learned society, an institution, or reviews could provide the reader with evidence of the quality of the book. Publishers are not the only and not the best quality control. The author might need to hire someone for copy editing and typesetting, but, given that many traditional publishers today produce their books very cheaply with ridiculously small fonts and long lines, he can choose to obtain a higher physical quality of the book than what a traditional publisher would have offered. Many POD publishers offer these services too, as well as marketing tools. If you write your book with LaTeX, you obtain better typesetting than what most publishers offer. Another advantage of POD: The author can choose how much royalties he wants. Choose a POD publisher that offers good sales prices for the book. Some book on demand publishers: Lightningsource, Lulu, Createspace, Gutenberg. If you publish your book through POD, make sure that you optimize its quality: get colleagues to comment on the manuscript, get someone to check the grammar (copy editing), use a spell checker, use high-quality typesetting using programs like LaTeX or Indesign (not MS Word!), use a suitable serif font made for books, make the font large enough and the lines short enough (max. 66 characters, see lshort, p. 145 or scrguien, p. 25).

More information about open access for books:


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