Ask RoMEO About Your Favorite Journal’s Open Access Policy

Next week is Open Access Week and its admirable slogan is, “Set the Default to Open Access.” As a recently minted PhD graduate who wants to both publish with recognized journals in my field and widely share my work as open access, this is treacherous territory. Fortunately, there are many roads to open access. One of the most important of these is self-archiving.

I recently took a closer look at a wonderful search engine that has been around for over a decade now, providing information to authors who want to learn more about the copyright and open access policies of journals:


Searching on this database, I was delighted to see that a number of the leading journals in my areas of interest, including the Journal of Asian Studies, are listed on SHERPA/RoMEO under their most generous “Green” classification, which means that the publication permits authors to self-archive pre-print and post-print and/or publisher’s version of a submitted article.

While it by no means lists all journals, and is lacking information for some of the journals included in its index, this is a great first stop when exploring open access outlets for your research. In addition to listing whether a journal permits self-archiving, or has some other open access option, it also often lists specific conditions that the publisher requires which are often not that easy to find on the publisher’s own website.

If the journal you are interested in is not listed, or is not listed as a Yellow, Blue, or Green RoMeo journal, don’t lose hope. So far, in my brief contact with journal publishers on this issue, I have been pleasantly suprised to find that some journals listed on SHERPA/RoMEO as having more restrictive policies are willing to allow you to self-archive your publications on your own web-site or in your open institutional repository when you ask nicely.

I am hopeful that we are making progress towards setting the default to open access, if not through the publications themselves, then through our self-archiving efforts and institutional repositories. Have more experienced scholars interested in open access noticed a change in the policies of their favorite journals? Is there a feeling among readers here that the open access mandates spreading across departments and institutions in the last few years are starting to have a real impact on journal policies?

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