(11 May 2022) Open-access publishing is going mainstream. This is sometimes a requirement, but it is also perceived as complex. That’s understandable, considering that OA comes in so many definitions and shades; gold, green, platinum and diamond journals and more shape a moving landscape where different stakeholders push their own agenda.
For researchers, navigating this landscape requires consideration of costs, funding, licences and copyright issues. All these aspects are relatively new compared with the traditional subscription-based system, where researchers would not worry about subscription costs any more than libraries would care about the details of the reviewing process. Redistribution of tasks along the publishing process forces universities and institutions to reorganize their support system. Who can and who should help? And how to do so?
At the University of Luxembourg, this task lies primarily with research support staff members. The open access contact points provide advice, respond to emails, organize workflows and prepare interactive workshops on the matter. Still, the gap between the rapidly moving field and daily research practices remains often significant. We should not forget that the speed of publishing is increasing exponentially, but we cannot hit “pause” on the publication workflow while we figure out how to deal with open access. Researchers need to publish.
Here is a collection of the main reactions and misconceptions that can be heard daily in our practice, not only from junior researchers and PhD students but also from experienced researchers. Helpers such as ourselves must be ready to answer these at any time, with anything from a 30-second pitch for impromptu coffee-break discussions to more elaborate content in a formal training context.
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