How to Create Open Access Workflows

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The write-up delves into how to create open access workflows. Open access publishing is revolutionizing the world of academic research and scholarship. By making research outputs freely available online without access barriers, open access facilitates the dissemination of knowledge on an unprecedented global scale. As open access gains momentum, developing efficient workflows to manage open access publishing has become crucial for researchers and institutions.

Structured open access workflows enable authors to comply with open access policies, choose suitable academic journals and repositories, retain key rights to their work, track submissions systematically, and measure the impact of their open access publications over time. However, adopting open access practices can be daunting for those new to the concept. This step-by-step manual aims to elucidate what open access means, why developing customized workflows is vital, and provide practical guidance on how to build efficient open access workflows.

By the end of this write-up, you will have the knowledge and tools to fully harness the potential of open access through tailored workflows attuned to their research and institutional needs. The insights here promise to amplify the reach and influence of research outputs more than ever before possible in the age of open science.

The Concept of Open Access in Academic Landscape

Open access refers to the free, immediate, and unrestricted availability of online research outputs and users’ rights to reuse the content with proper attribution. The open access movement has roots in the 1990s, motivated by the exorbitant cost of academic journals and the desire to democratize knowledge sharing.

Today, open access has been embraced by funding agencies, governments, institutions, and researchers globally as a pivotal means to accelerate research and drive innovation. Key declarations like the Budapest Open Access Initiative in 2002 and the Berlin Declaration in 2003 entrenched open access as a new paradigm in scholarship and policy.

The Growing Importance of Open Access Workflows

Efficient open access workflows are now critical to fully harness the promise of open access. However, managing rights retention, tracking multiple submissions, complying with funder mandates, and measuring impact can be challenging.

This underscores the need for customized workflows allowing authors to seamlessly transition to open access publishing. Refined workflows help choose compliant journals and repositories, retain rights, systematically submit manuscripts and preprints, obtain accurate metrics, and amplify exposure. They are indispensable for productive open access publishing.

This manual recognizes that embracing open access involves new models of publishing requiring guidance. It is designed as an accessible resource for readers to learn the what, why, and how of building efficient open access workflows tailored to their context.

With insights spanning the meaning of open access, the significance of workflows, and practical steps to construct customized workflows, readers can become proficient in open-access publishing. The tips here will assist readers in adopting best practices, complying with policies, choosing suitable avenues for sharing work, and tracking impact to harness the full potential of open access.

Understanding Open Access

Open access refers to the free, unrestricted online access to research outputs such as journal articles and books. The core principles of open access are removing price barriers like subscriptions, permission barriers like copyright restrictions, and technical barriers like restrictive formats. Open access aims to make research freely available to all potential readers, not just those affiliated with institutions that can afford expensive journal subscriptions.

The key principles underpinning open access are:

  • Removing price barriers to content access by providing free online access
  • Eliminating permission barriers by utilizing open licenses that allow sharing and reuse
  • Lowering technical barriers by using formats that facilitate automated processing and text-mining
  • Increasing visibility and readership by making content easy to discover through open infrastructure

By embodying these principles, open access enables barrier-free access to the latest research for scholars, students, policymakers, and the public.

Benefits of Open Access Publishing

The benefits of open-access publishing include the following:

  • For researchers: increased citations and visibility for their work leading to more opportunities for collaboration and funding
  • For institutions: greater impact and usage metrics for their research outputs, supporting their public mission
  • For the public: access to tax-payer funded research, ability to participate in the scientific process, accelerated innovation

Additionally, open access helps overcome knowledge disparities by providing access to those without well-funded libraries. It also facilitates computational analysis and reuse of content in new research. Open access translates research investments into greater scholarship, engagement, and progress.

Importance of Creating Open Access Workflows

Having streamlined open access workflows is crucial for researchers and institutions for several reasons:

  1. It streamlines the process of making research openly accessible, ensuring manuscripts and data are deposited in appropriate repositories promptly. Without clear workflows, open access practices often happen ad hoc, creating gaps in accessibility and visibility.
  2. Effective workflows enhance the reach and impact of research outputs. Structured deposits into stable, open repositories and preprint servers greatly improve the discoverability of publications. This leads to more views, downloads, and citations of works over the long term. Studies show open access articles receive more downloads and citations than paywalled pieces.
  3. Smooth open access workflows facilitate better collaboration and knowledge-sharing between researchers. When manuscripts and data are easily discoverable through open repositories, scientists across disciplines and geographies can more readily find, access, and build upon the latest research. This accelerates the pace of discovery and allows for more diverse perspectives.

Enhances Visibility, Impact, and Collaboration

Well-designed open access workflows vastly expand the visibility of research outputs by making them freely available through various channels. Depositing into institutional repositories and subject-specific archives exposes works to wider audiences. Posting preprints creates opportunities for community feedback. Publishing in reputable open access journals also improves accessibility and readership globally.

With enhanced visibility comes greater research impact. Metrics show open access articles have higher altmetric attention scores reflecting more online discussions. Openly shared works also see increased citations over longer periods, amplifying their influence. Structured open access workflows maximize this impact advantage.

Further, seamless discoverability of outputs facilitates productive connections and collaborations between researchers worldwide. Unrestricted access allows scientists from multiple disciplines to find relevant works easily for cross-pollination of ideas. Knowledge freely flows between institutions through open repositories. This interdisciplinary and inter-institutional sharing spurs faster research advancement.

Helps Overcome Adoption Challenges

Despite immense benefits, researchers often face barriers in adopting open access practices – lack of institutional support, publisher restrictions, and concerns about reputational risk. Structured workflows help tackle these roadblocks systematically.

Workflows backed by institutional open access policies reassure researchers. Seamless repository deposit mechanisms facilitate mandate compliance without disrupting existing publication processes. Workflows also allow customization to discipline-specific publishing norms, overcoming confusion around what versions can be shared openly.

Likewise, sustainable funding and incentives to publish in reputable open access journals mitigate prestige and career advancement concerns. Well-designed workflows aid the discovery of high-quality open access publication venues. Through these supportive mechanisms, workflows promote the cultural shift essential for mainstream open access adoption.

By providing turnkey solutions for common adoption barriers, efficient open access workflows enable and accelerate the open sharing of research outputs. This amplifies accessibility, collaboration, and real-world impact – fulfilling the promise of public access to publicly-funded research.

How to Create Open Access Workflows: The Steps

Creating an effective open access workflow requires careful planning and execution across multiple stages. Here is a step-by-step guide to building a streamlined open access workflow:

1. Set Specific Goals

Clearly define your objectives for implementing an open access workflow. Consider questions like:

  • What percentage of publications do you want to make open access over the next 3–5 years?
  • Do you aim to pursue the green or gold open access route or both?
  • What levels of visibility and collaboration do you hope to achieve?

Setting benchmark goals will help shape the workflow to meet targeted outcomes.

2. Identify Resources

Take stock of existing infrastructure and funding sources that can enable open access in your context. This includes:

  • Institutional repositories
  • Preprint servers
  • Open access journals and publishers
  • Internal funding for article processing charges
  • Library support services

Understanding the resources already available will allow you to develop an optimal workflow.

3. Map Out Processes

With goals set and resources identified, map out step-by-step processes for key open access activities like:

  • Submitting manuscripts to open access journals
  • Self-archiving articles in repositories
  • Uploading preprints
  • Securing funding for article processing charges (APCs)
  • Tracking compliance

Creating SOPs for each process will streamline efforts across authors, administrators, and other stakeholders.

How to create open access workflows

Some key technologies that can further optimize workflows include plagiarism checkers, metadata tools, identifier generators, and manuscript submission systems. Adopt solutions that integrate well with existing infrastructure.

Promote open access values through training workshops and incentivization programs to drive adoption. Develop standardized policies and assign dedicated teams to coordinate activities.

With strategic planning across goals, resources, and processes—coupled with enabling technologies and cultural support—institutions can implement high-functioning open access workflows that accelerate research progress.


As we have seen throughout this article, implementing effective open access workflows is crucial for researchers and institutions looking to enhance their work’s reach, visibility, and impact. By systematically adopting open access practices, barriers to accessing research can be eliminated, accelerating the pace of discovery and collaboration globally.

The key takeaways from this guide are:

  • Open access removes price and permission barriers to research outputs, allowing for wider dissemination and engagement.
  • Structuring an end-to-end open access workflow enables researchers to systematically share their work openly.
  • Tools like institutional repositories and preprint servers streamline publishing and archiving processes.
  • An open culture through training, incentives and community building is vital for success.

By putting these insights into practice, the full potential of open scholarship can be realized.

Encourage Readers to Implement Strategies

We encourage all researchers and institutions to start building their own tailored open access workflows using the step-by-step guidance provided. Begin by setting clear goals aligned with open values, surveying the resources at your disposal, and establishing efficient protocols for manuscript preparation, submission, and dissemination. Leverage preprint posting and repository depositing to maximize accessibility.

Promote a culture of openness through training workshops, collaboration incentives, and community events. Empower authors in making informed publishing choices. Together, we can drive the momentum towards open research and learning.

Provide Additional Resources

For those interested in learning more, excellent open access resources are available from organizations like SPARC, the Right to Research Coalition, and the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition. These cover open access policy developments, advocacy initiatives, tools, and global campaigns dedicated to open scholarship. Stay up-to-date by following relevant organizations on social media, signing up for newsletters, and engaging with online communities of practice. This remains an evolving landscape with much potential still to be explored.

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