The 1-step guide for making your research open access legally and for free

In this blog post, qBionano’s Mattias shares some thoughts on how to easily (and for free) make your work openly available. A quick and simple 1-step guide meant for those who have never made their work open access before — but wants to start — is also included.

Virtually all researchers I have talked to — regardless of discipline or stage of career — want their research as broadly visible and read as possible. One way to facilitate this is through open access, which is an integral part of the open science movement.

On this blog we have previously discussed policy initiatives (e.g. funding programs and the RRI movement) and the evolving role of academic publishers. For those of you who already feel comfortable with the concepts around open access and just want some more details, I recommend this multi-lingual resource. For those of you who want to learn more about open science, I recommend the resources provided by FOSTER.

But for those of you who are new to sharing your research papers openly and just want a quick and simple 1-step guide for how this can be achieved with minimal effort, then this guide is for you. The prescribed method here is called “green open access” using “self-archiving” into an “institutional repository” and is both free and legal. In essence, this just means that we upload the paper into an open database that our institution maintains.

Step 1 of 1 — Talk to your library

If I search for “Imperial College London institutional repository” then these are the results I get.

Screenshot 2018-08-26 at 16.41.07

By clicking on these links, I find both a step-by-step video (see below) of how to deposit my paper into Symplectic/Spiral (Imperial’s name for their repository) and a great FAQ with questions and answers.

Once I have gone through this process a librarian at the institution will double check my entry and then let me know if everything looks good or if anything else is needed. The end goal is an entry that looks like this:

This entry is now available for free to anyone and forever, and will also be indexed by search engines and services such as and to make it easy for anyone to find!

Some universities and institutions have more developed systems and guidelines than others, but almost all the academic librarians I have talked to want to help out and are passionate about making research broadly available in the best way possible.

So talk to your librarian today to learn more about making your research papers open access! It is easy and doesn’t have to cost anything!

See the blog post on Plan S for more on this topic.


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