Supporting Researchers with Open Access Publishing: A Guide

By: Laura Graham-Clare, Mon Oct 25 2021
Laura Graham-Clare

Author: Laura Graham-Clare

From gaining a wider audience to ensuring that research has the greatest possible impact, publishing through open access (OA) and open research offers many benefits. Despite this, the process can seem daunting to those considering it. Having access to relevant, up-to-date information and advice at the right time can make a vital difference.

At Springer Nature, we provide practical resources to enable librarians to support researchers with publishing via the OA route. They are segmented into the three stages of the journey: Awareness, Consideration and Decision.

1. Awareness

It can be overwhelming for researchers to know where to begin to gain an initial understanding of publishing through OA. A key starting point is to find out what’s involved, the potential career benefits and the key terms and concepts. 
The following resources are designed for those who have never published OA:

  • The Fundamentals of OA - This page provides a short Q&A broken down into the key issues to help researchers identify the main steps they need to take, making it a helpful resource for librarians responding to initial enquiries.
  • The Benefits of OA - Whether it is increased citation and usage or greater public engagement, OA provides many advantages. For conversations around the benefits, this page offers some pointers and is divided into handy sections.
  • Routes to OA - To help researchers decide how to make their research outputs openly accessible, this page outlines the two routes: Gold, which entails publishing articles or books on a publisher’s platform and Green, which involves archiving a version of the manuscript in an OA repository. This page also compares the advantages of both routes in relation to issues such as timing, licensing and discoverability.
  • Open Access and Hybrid Journal Lists - An outline of the world’s most significant OA portfolio, with downloadable lists of our fully OA journals, including APC and licence information, and our hybrid journals, including Springer Open Choice titles. 
  • Introductory Guide to OA - An easy-to-use interactive guide to OA at Springer Nature, covering aspects such as the fundamentals, the benefits and how to access further resources.

2. Consideration

Once researchers have gained an awareness of the principles and benefits of OA, they need to better understand the realities and what the experience of publishing research this way actually entails. Easily accessible insight from fellow researchers can be valuable in bringing the OA process to life.

  • Open Voices - Open Voices is an online hub where researchers can gain an understanding of the benefits of OA and connect with the OA community. It also features evidence from Springer Nature authors on what publishing an OA book, chapter, article or data set means for them. 

3. Decision

The decision-making stage requires researchers to gain a clear understanding of the practicalities of publishing OA, whether that is funding, policies or institutional agreements. The following resources provide detailed information and guidance on these important topics:

  • Institutional OA Agreements - Many funders and institutions now cover OA publishing costs for affiliated researchers as part of an OA agreement with Springer Nature. This page provides a breakdown of OA agreements, enabling researchers to explore whether they may be entitled to publish OA with their fees covered. It also details partners, membership organisations and OA agreements for individual institutions listed by country.
  • Funding and Support Services - Understandably, funding is a key concern for prospective researchers. This page outlines the free, personalised support we offer to make it easier for our authors to discover and apply for funding to cover article processing charges (APCs) and/or book processing charges (BPCs). It discusses aspects such as finding and securing funding and completing a funding application. The page also provides information about funding for OA articles and books by country and institution. 
  • Funding and Policy Checklist for Articles - Many research funders and institutions have introduced policies which require authors to make their research openly accessible. This OA checklist is designed to help researchers meet the requirements of their funder(s) and institutions, as well as enabling them to identify potential sources of article processing charge (APC) funding. All the key aspects are addressed, such as funding options, journal policies and licence choice.

If you’re starting your own journey of supporting researchers through publishing OA, view our guide to the Fundamentals of OA first. Go to the OA Librarian Hub for additional open access information specifically for librarians / information managers.

Laura Graham-Clare

Author: Laura Graham-Clare

Laura Graham-Clare is Head of Community Content, based in London. Working between our publishing, sales and marketing teams, she is focused on thought leadership trends, content creation, and developing insights and information resources for staff, librarians, researchers and information professionals.