Open Access guide


1.Open Access #

Open Access is part of Open Science. The aim of Open Science is transparency during the complete research process, for instance by sharing and re-using research data.

Open Access is a broad international academic movement that seeks free and open online access to academic information. Open Access (OA) means unrestricted online access to your writings.

Open Access and the UM reader

Open Access offers you free, immediate, online availability of scientific information like research articles. For staff and students from Maastricht University (UM) there are no costs involved. Payment for reading full text is arranged through licensing arrangements the UM Library made with publishers.

Open Access and the UM author

UM scientists who want to publish Open Access because of the greater reach for their article, and because their publications will be better found and cited, often had to pay for Open Access publishing. A fee paid to the publisher to make an article free at point of access has been called APC (article processing charge).

Thanks to negotiations in recent years, university libraries have included Open Access in many licensing agreements with publishers. As a result, scientists employed by Dutch universities can publish Open Access in many journals without paying APCs.

Open Access for UM in general

Open Access creates a greater public visibility of all research at UM. Greater accessibility of research could attract new research students, or help start new collaborations.

Last updated on Thursday 30 November 2017

1.1.Open Access developments in the Netherlands #

Current information on the advantages of Open Access (OA) to publicly financed research and all Dutch OA agreements with individual publishers can be found on the Dutch National website .

Last updated on Monday 4 September 2017

1.2.Pros and cons of Open Access #

The greatest benefit of Open Access is that it enables the results of scholarly research to be disseminated more rapidly and widely.

It is only in the longer term that Open Access publication brings you concrete benefits. This can affect the priority that you attach to switching to this publication model.
Read all about advantages and disadvantages you may experience 

Last updated on Monday 4 September 2017

1.3.Troubled by misconceptions? #

Open Access is widely known but it is still held back by some misunderstandings. Read more about often-heard myths in the following article. 

Last updated on Monday 4 September 2017

1.4.Look out for questionable OA publishers! #

Keep control over your scholarship

It is important to avoid predatory journals. These journals take away your control over your scholarship.

Do you have any doubts or questions?

Do you know the editors of the journals and/or some authors who have published in the journals you selected? When in doubt, we advise you to trace or contact them.

How can you be sure you can trust a particular journal? Follow the ‘Think Check Submit check list to verify you choose trusted journals for your research.

Warning signs

If you are thinking of submitting an article from a journal that meets a number of criteria on the list below, we recommend doing more research about the journal first. How do you spot predatory journals? Here are a few warning signs:

1. Take a close look at the publisher’s website:

  • The journal asks for a submission fee instead of a publication fee or tries to keep the copyright to authors’ work
  • The publisher promises you that papers will be published at a certain time, but this is not consistent with its outdated website
  • The editorial board is relatively small or ‘coming soon’
  • A single publisher releases an overwhelmingly large suite of new journals all at one time
  • The ‘look and feel’ of the website is poor
  • The journal title notes an affiliation that does not match its editorial board or location
  • There are fundamental errors in the titles and abstracts
  • The content of the journal varies from the title and stated scope

2. Pay attention to these questions:

  • Can you find the articles from the journals in reliable databases such as Web of Science (Thomson Reuters), Scopus (Elsevier), Directory of Open Access Journals or a database in your own discipline?
  • Is the publisher clear about peer review and the costs of Open Access?
  • Is there a registration number (ISSN) of the journal on the website?
  • Is the publisher or editor a member of COPE, Committee on Publication Ethics or do they follow its guidelines?
Last updated on Monday 4 September 2017

1.5.OA publishing channels #

Why choose Open Access (OA) as a publishing method?

  • OA meets grant requirements
  • OA is associated with greater Web visibility
  • OA journals may be peer reviewed
  • OA boosts the speed of dissemination of your publications
  • OA increases your article citations as evidence is developing that greater visibility of research boosts your citation frequencies.
Last updated on Thursday 30 November 2017

1.6.Types of Open Access: What to choose? #

There are two complementary business models of OA: the so-called ‘golden’ road and the ‘green’ road:

  • The ‘golden’ road is the same as paid OA.
    The ‘golden’ road consists of pure and hybrid OA journals. Both categories do not charge readers or their institutions for access
  • The ‘green’ road to OA is the strategy that uses archives or repositories like Research Publications .
    The ‘green’ road only requires you to retain rights to allow self-archiving, and to deposit your work in a digital repository. Repositories do not act as publishers. Rather, they provide access to some version of papers either before they are submitted for publication in a journal or at some point after they have been published, usually subject to an embargo period.

Other factors to consider – next to the speed of dissemination – when choosing a journal are:

  • Institutional self-archiving policy to store and disseminate articles and other publications through the institutional repository
  • The publisher’s copyright policy and business model
  • The author or article processing charges of the journal.

Citation databases such as the Web of Science, are used to determine the research impact. For this reason, many researchers prefer OA journals which are also indexed in citation databases.

Last updated on Thursday 30 November 2017

1.8.What are APCs? #

Hybrid journals are subscription-based journals which make individual articles immediately available to the public if you pay an additional open-access fee. The fee paid to the publisher to make an article free for the reader has been called an APC (article processing charge). With APCs you buy the right to publish an exact copy of the final version of an article.

Open Access journals that are part of national Big Deals with publishers are free of APCs. UM Library has Big Deals with many publishers. The UM situation has been specified for individual publishers.

Last updated on Thursday 30 November 2017

1.9.Funding #


Conditions for new calls for proposals have been changed by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). All funded research for which the calls were issued after 1 December 2015, must be immediately made accessible to everybody via Open Access (OA) publications. The granting conditions for calls published before this date and current research projects remain the same. Read more .

European funding

  • The European Union has also made open access publishing mandatory for research funded by grants through the Horizon 2020 programme 
  • Are you a researcher, partner or coordinator in a FP7 project that has recently finished or is approaching its end-date? Your forthcoming peer-reviewed Open Access publications could be eligible for funding. Read more 
  • Read more on OA funding on the Dutch National OA website


Further reading


Last updated on Thursday 11 January 2018

2.Journals & publishers #

Check the OA journal browser  for the current overview of journal titles and the possibilities to publish Open Access.

The UM Journal Browser is derived from the national open access journal browser. You can see which journals offer open access publication and which arrangements (such as APC discounts) are in effect.

The Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) (UM included) have negotiated deals with several publishers, as a result of which no Article Processing Charges (APCs) are due (100% discount). Local agreements between Maastricht University Library and publishers are also included in the browser.

Information about all Dutch OA agreements with individual publishers can be found on .

Last updated on Wednesday 25 July 2018

2.1.OA journals and publisher policies #

  • Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ): Lists almost 10.000 OA journals
  • SHERPA/RoMEO : lists publisher copyright and self-archiving policies. To see what publishers allow in terms of self-archiving, check the publisher or journal name in this directory. Listings also indicate whether or not the publisher has a “paid access” option with direct links to the specific publisher policies on paid access
  • ROAD Directory of Open Access scholarly Resources : gives access to OA scholarly contents via a single access point. ROAD can be searched by country, subject, indexing/abstracting service etc.

OA articles can also often be found with a web search, using any general search engine or those specialised for the scholarly literature, such as OAIster and Google Scholar .

To find OA journals with a Journal Impact Factor in a specified discipline, use the Web of Science .

Many funding agencies like the European Commission and the Dutch NWO organisation support OA. For a list of research funders’ OA policies, consult SHERPA/Juliet .

Last updated on Thursday 30 November 2017
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