Open science and research

Open Access Publishing

Open access to publications ensures that scientific publications: journal articles, monographs, proceedings and conference papers, are accessible to everyone free of charge. This makes scientific publications available to everyone and not just to those who have paid for subscriptions.
An image describing the benefits of open access (for example findability, impact, visibility, higher citation rates, compliance with grant rules, value for taxpayers)
Benefits of open access publishing (CC-BY, Danny Kingsley & Sarah Brown)

There are two ways to achieve open access:

  1. By self-archiving the publication in an open access repository, referred as the green open access or parallel publishing. The open electronic repository can be an institutional repository for the university, shared repository of a discipline, or a subject-based or centralized repository (e.g. arXiv) or other form of open access repository (e.g. Zenodo). Aalto University's repository consists of the research information system ACRIS and Aaltodoc publication archive.
  2. By publishing an open access article in a journal. This is usually referred as the gold open access. The journal may be a fully open access journal either requiring author payments (APC, article processing charge) or a journal that does not require such payments. Gold open access may also refer to a subscription journal, which allows individual articles to be made open access on payment of an APC fee. These kind of journals are usually called hybrid journals.

Many publishers allow the final peer-reviewed manuscript (so called final accepted manuscript, FAM, author accepted manuscript, AAM, or final draft), i.e. the version without the publishers layout, page numbering or logo,  to be archived by the author in an online institutional repository alongside or after its publication. Some publishers request that open access be granted only after an embargo period has elapsed.

At Aalto University, researchers are asked to ensure his or her co-author´s consent for parallel publishing in Aalto University’s repository, and to send the final accepted manuscript to [email protected] at the time of the acceptance of the publication. Open Science and ACRIS team will deposit the manuscript as a service in ACRIS. The publication metadata including deposited manuscript file will be copied from ACRIS to Aaltodoc automatically.

For long-term preservation, institutional repositories such as university databases are a safer option than commercial ones, as the university cannot guarantee the long-term preservation of articles in commercial services (e.g. MendeleyResearchGate), and the university is responsible for the preservation of the material to the agency funding the study and to the science community.

Funders' requirements

Open Access scientific publications must be open for reading and evaluation to researchers and the general public alike free of charge, if not immediately, at least after an embargo period. Many publishers continue to require an embargo period (usually 6-12 months), during which the article is only available to the paying subscribers of the journal.

Both Horizon 2020 and Academy of Finland require that each beneficiary must ensure open access to all peer-reviewed scientific publications relating to its results no later than 6 months after the date of publication, and 12 months for social sciences and humanities. Business Finland does not define the length of the embargo period.

For detailed instructions, please go to the web pages of the funders.

More or less open – defined by licenses

Open access can be defined as the practice of providing open online access to scientific articles. As long as such publications are used only to seek information and sources are cited in accordance with responsible conduct of research, no license is required for using the publication.

However, when you wish to make copies of the publication, deposit it in the university repository or make it available to the general public, you must check the terms of use, i.e. the license, to see whether the owner of the rights of the publication allows such usage. The permitted uses can be clearly  indicated with Creative Commons licenses.

Please see a process chart about CC license selection in Aalto University Visual Resources guide (based on Tarmo Toikkanen's image).

Changes in the near future

European Commission, the European Research Council (ERC) and several research funders announced cOAlition S and Plan S, which aims at full and immediate access for scientific publications with reasonable APC levels from 2021 onwards. The scientific publications must be published in compliant open access journals or on compliant open access platforms. In Finland, Academy of Finland is part of the coalition.

The Finnish research  community is drafting a national strategy and implementation plan for open access to scholarly publications. The work is coordinated by Open Science (Avoin tiede).

From 2021 funding period, open access publications will be rewarded a coefficient of 1.2 in the funding model of the Ministry of Education and Culture.


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Open science and research
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