Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Thoughts on Open Access, VPHA and figshare

A publication is meant to be public. Many are not, as the journals limit the access to the subscribers of the journals --- the content is published, but not publicly available.

Mid-February, I blogged about "Open research: How sharing can help researchers succeed", linking to an excellent manuscript-in-progress by McKiernan et al. that considers open research aspects from a researcher-centric approach. The manuscript triggered my thinking in many ways, I recommend reading it to others, too. In this blog post, I continue around Open Access and Open Science from my own ALD scientist's viewpoint and from the viewpoint of the VPHA ALD history project, ending with a question: Could we use figshare to share VPHA's material, other than journal articles? Are there other good options?  Discussion on the topic is very much needed and welcome.

Open Access (OA) journals can in principle help making scientific articles publicly available. Personally, I have not rushed into publishing in any of the newer OA journals because of many concerns, many of them addressed in McKiernan et al.'s manuscript-in-progress. Being conservative, I have preferred to publish in established journals, where paying an often-not-so-small fee to make the article OA is often an option. The "Suntola ALE essay" published in Chemical Vapor Deposition, which is one of the VPHA outcomes, was made Open Access this way (my employer covered the OA fee, I am thankful for that).

Another option for making an article fully public is to self-archive an open access copy of it. As I have learned from the manuscript-in-progress and the excellent colleague-librarians at VTT (I am so grateful for their professional advice), there is a site called SHERPA/RoMEO, where one can check how different journals support self-archiving. At the end of this post, I have listed my articles which have been made OA through archiving a copy of the publication at my employer VTT's website (now there are four, and more are likely to come). Here are the policies of a few ALD-related journals as example, from  SHERPA/RoMEO:
  • JVST A, where many ALD articles are nowadays published in a yearly special issue, is RoMEO green journal. RoMEO green means for example that the author can archive a copy of the final published pdf at his/her own site and employer's website.  
  • Chemical Vapor Deposition, where the ALE essay and ML essay were published, is a RoMEO white journal, not much supporting OA, and not allowing the archival of the published pdf. 
  • Journal of Applied Physics, again, is a RoMEO green journal, widely supporting self-archiving.   
In VPHA, ideally, all publications should be openly available. Almost all are, except for the ML Essay, which is available to journal subscribers only. This one article would really deserve to have the Open Access status. I so wish there was a way to make it open access.

Open Access publishing of scientific journal articles is one thing. Other publications are another thing: abstracts, posters, presentations, text files, datasets... In VPHA, we are producing significant amounts of such materials. At the moment those other VPHA publications can be found through the website (set up by me with kind help by Jonas Sundqvist), but this website might not exist forever. Could these publications be archived somewhere to secure permanent access to them? What options are there? Uploading to the VTT website could be one option (this provides no DOI). How about services such as figshare (DOI link possible)? Other possible services to consider?

We have discussed in Twitter figshare a bit, and at least one researcher has already chosen it for his research proposal's Data Management Plan. To give it a try, I made figshare account and shared one scientific poster through it. Pdf quality is certainly much better than for the same poster shared through SlideShare, and tagging makes it much easier to find (although figshare's search function is not perfect, I've let them know about that).

The question is: Could we use figshare to share VPHA's material? Opinions, alternative suggestions?

--- Puurunen's open access archival papers at VTT website ---

You can search for VTT publications here, OA links are included.  

Virtual Project on the History of ALD (VPHA) - in atmosphere of Openness, Respect, and Trust


  1. Isn't CVD a journal that allows self archiving the accepted manuscript? Our university library parallel publishes many of our papers and have published one of my papers in CVD.

  2. Thank you Henrik, this example is very good to know! I only checked the SHERPA/RoMEO site, and there, CVD has the least friendly approach to Open Access. If self-archiving is supported, then that could be a way to make the ML Essay Open Access, too.

    Looking here (|&mode=advanced&la=en&version=&source=journal&sourceid=1514), I see: subject to Restrictions below, author can archive post-print (ie final draft post-refereeing) --> Restrictions: "Upon funder agreement with publisher".

    Who should then agree with them? The funding organization?

    1. If you want to discuss with our librarian who knows this much better than I do, feel free to contact him and refer to me. You reach him on david.lawrence at or on Twitter at davla59

    2. Thanks for the info. I highly respect experienced librarians :) I think I will try contacting ours first --- although yours indeed has the advantage of having done this "exercise" through successfully.

  3. Further note: Angel Yanguas-Gil pointed in Twitter ( to a useful Wikipedia list: