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openUP is the short name for the University of Pretoria's Open Scholarship Programme which aims at changing scholarship practice at UP towards becoming an open scholarship institution and providing open access to its research and scholarship. An open scholarship institution has the following characteristics:

We subscribe to the Wellcome Trust's viewpoint that "the job of research is only half-done if the results of that research cannot reach the widest audience". 

The following four sub-programmes are in operation:
• Mandated submission of research and conference papers (openUP)
• Mandated submission of theses and dissertations (UPeTD)
• Collaboration with Dept Research and Innovation Support on research reporting
• Advice and facilitation of open access journal initiatives on campus.


The UP Open Access Scorecard, 21 October 2009 

The scorecard gives an overview of progress and can be viewed at

Contact details

The Open Scholarship Office is in the Merensky Library on the Hatfield Campus and is managed by Mrs Elsabe Olivier.

Contact details:


telephone +27 - 012 - 4203719

What is open access and who benefits from OA

Definition 1: Open access (OA) is free, immediate, permanent, full-text, online access, for any user, web-wide, to digital scientific and scholarly material, primarily research articles published in peer-reviewed journals. OA means that any individual user, anywhere, who has access to the Internet, may link, read, download, store, print-off, use, and data-mine the digital content of that article. An OA article usually has limited copyright and licensing restrictions. (

Definition 2: For a work to be OA, the copyright holder must consent in advance to let users "copy, use, distribute, transmit and display the work publicly and to make and distribute derivative works, in any digital medium for any responsible purpose, subject to proper attribution of authorship...." (Bethesda and Berlin statements)


Different initiatives combined to create the synergistic open access movement. These are

  1. Enabling technology, particularly the internet
  2. Policy created by international bodies and research organizations
  3. Self-archiving and institutional repositories
  4. Open access publishing
  5. Funding bodies' insistence on open access archiving
  6. Rights management developments

A complete history of the open access movement by Peter Suber is available at A short overview can be found at  Understanding open access in the academic environment: a guide for authors pp 9-15.

The open access movement is ongoing with frequent new developements and ever widening impact.  On 21 October 2009 the second international Open Access Day will be celebrated worldwide.

Benefits for UP researchers

Benefits for the University of Pretoria

Benefits for international researchers and the public

Benefits for publishers

Necessary preconditions for success

Four issues are of utmost importance for success:

  1. The active participation of all researchers
  2. A well run institutional repository
  3. Understanding and exploiting copyright to our advatage
  4. Open access journals that are gaining in reputation

The active participation of all researchers

UP researchers as the authors of scholarly articles have the most to gain from open access:

It advances research and shortens the research cycle
It enhances the visibility of research
It increases the readership of your work
It provides a one-stop access to your publications
It stimulates research partnerships
It leads to easier research reporting

You are in the best position to protect your own rights. If you have ceded them to the journal publisher, make sure that a copy is stored in our repository to give access to everyone who cannot afford the subscription cost. In the words of JoAnne Yates, MIT Sloan Distinguished Professor of Management: "We can no longer afford to stand on the sidelines. We also need to educate ourselves about copyright issues so we can protect our own rights rather than signing them away"

Seven things that researchers need to know about open access*

1. The two routes to open access. You take the gold route by publishing in an open access journal: by default your article will be available for everybody. The green route goes via our institutional repository: please note that final, peer-reviewed drafts of your articles have to be submitted the the moment it has been accepted.

2.  What OA journals exist in your field. The Directory of Open Access Journals ( lists 4370 journals. Journal Info ( provides detailed information about OA journals.

3. You need to know about OA archives and repositories. A number of reputable subject repositories exist, among them the oldest and best-known ( with  565,269 e-prints in Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science, Quantitative Biology and Statistics which has been in operation since 1991. Repositories can be found in many universities. Our own repository, UPSpace is available for all UP researchers to archive research and conference papers and other materials. 

4. OA archiving only takes a few minutes. Les Carr and Stevan Harnad of the University of Southampton studied archiving behaviour over a period of two months and found that it takes approximately 10 minutes per paper ( Even though it may take a little longer, it can be done by everyone: our rprevious ector, prof Pistorius, submitted documents to the repository in person. Just make it a habit to submit your article the moment it has been accepted. Our Quick Guide will help you over the first hurdle. 

5. Most non-OA journals allow authors to deposit their postprints in an OA repository. Roughly 70% of all journals consent to archiving. For more information visit the SHERPA/RoMEO site at The OAKList Database has information on Australian journals and their policies. Many South African publishers are not listed here. We already have permission from many of them and are in the process of negotiating with the rest. If in doubt, send a message to  Please note that the Open Scholarship Office will take responsibility for permissions once you submitted your articles.

6. OA enlarges your audience and citation impact. We are quite spoilt by having good access to research journals online (approximately 56 000 titles availabale at but this is by no means the norm, particularly in developing countries because of the cost to maintain such a service. Please archive your articles to ensure that everybody has access to your publications.

7. If you actively support OA you are in good company. Worldwide many prominent research leaders actively support open access by submitting their articles and endorsing open access: on 26 August 2004 26 Nobel laureates signed a letter to the US Congress in support of the NIH's open access policy ( Many prominent universities, including UP, have open access mandates, making it compulsory for researchers to submit their articles. At UP a number of prominent research leaders have expressed their support for open access.

A well run institutional repository

Readers need the assurance that research publications, particularly those that are in postprint or preprint format, are similar to the ones that can be found on publishers' platforms or in the printed journals. Authors need the assurance that their documents are properly hosted and version controlled to be available at all times in perpetuity. For this assurance a well run institutional repository with good policy and business rules is imperative.

UP has two repositories:

UPeTD for theses and dissertations ( and  

UPSpace for journal articles and other material (

Both are governed by good policy and are properly run by the Department of Library Services. Information on policies and procedure can be found on both sites.

Understanding and exploiting copyright to our advatage

"Copyright law underpins how a person can deal with a written work such as a journal article, a book or a research report. The person who owns copyright in a work will be able to control whether that work can be copied, shared online or used by others. For this reason, a proper understanding of copyright law is fundamental to the consideration of whether or not a work can be made open access." (Pappalardo, 2008). This collection of legal rights is generally aimed at protecting the rights of authors, including their economic rights. However, in the case of journal articles and other scientific documents which have not been written with financial gain in mind, copyright can be a stumbling block in the way of sharing information and general scientific progress.

Normally the author of any work is the copyright owner unless his/her employment contract stipulates that the copyright of publications resulting from work belongs to the employer - which is not the case for UP researchers. But copyright can also be ceded or assigned to a publisher as is the case with the majority of journal articles. The copyright transfer form usually contains this assignment clause. This copyright assigment is in exchange for the publisher's services but it implies that the author's institution has to buy access to its own research results at very high cost.

There are at least three ways in which this problem can be overcome and we encourage you to make use of them

1. Many publishers permit open access archiving of journal articles within certain conditions. Visit the SHERPA/RoMEO website for a summary of publishers' policies ( The OAKList Database has information on Australian journals and their policies. Very few South African publishers are included in the SHERPA/RoMEO database. The Open Scholarship Office is negotiating with them to get archiving permission. A list of current permissions for UP is available. If the journal in which you (intend to) publish cannot be found in any of these lists, please send an email to

2. Publish in an open access journal.

3. If you are brave enough: change the copyright transfer form to retain at least the right to archive a copy in the institutional repository and to re-use the information for teaching. The official UP Amendment to be added to your publication contract can be found at

Extensive information on copyright is available in Understanding open access in the academic environment: a guide for authors. The JISC/SURF Copyright Toolbox is also a useful source of information.

Open access journals that are gaining in reputation

Peter Suber describes OA journals as follows: OA journals perform peer review and then make the approved contents freely available to the world. Their expenses consist of peer review, manuscript preparation, and server space. OA journals pay their bills very much the way broadcast television and radio stations do: those with an interest in disseminating the content pay the production costs upfront so that access can be free of charge for everyone with the right equipment. Sometimes this means that journals have a subsidy from the hosting university or professional society. Sometimes it means that journals charge a processing fee on accepted articles, to be paid by the author or the author's sponsor (employer, funding agency). (A Very Brief Introduction to Open Access.

OA journals are listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals ( A list of accredited OA journals is available at Many OA journals have respectable and growing impact factors, e.g. for 2008:

Public Library of Science
PLoS Biology - 13.5
PLoS Medicine - 12.6
PLoS Pathogens - 9.3
PLoS Genetics - 8.7
PLoS Computational Biology - 6.2

Biomed Central
Genome Biology - 6.59
BMC Biology - 5.06
Breast Cancer Research - 4.37

Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology - 2.563
Clinical and Developmental Immunology - 1.647
Mediators of Inflammation - 1.395

Your concerns – are they real threats?

1. "OA archiving will threaten my (and other UP researchers') chances to publish in specific journals". There is no need to worry about this. The majority of publishers (70%) already allow archiving in institutional repositories. It is UP policy that we abide by the publishers' rules at all times or negotiate better terms where possible. We check every submission to ensure that it stays in line with publishers' policies.

2. "This is another administrative job for which I do not have the time". We are conscious of the fact that you are working under resource constraints and do not want to add to your burden.  However, you are the only person who has access to the postprint of your article. If you really do not have the time, please send the postprint to Researchers who have self-submitted their articles find that it is simpler and easier than they thought, taking only a couple of minutes. In case of doubt please use our Quick Guide.

Q & A 

Q: When I plan to publish with a publisher, how do I know whether the publisher will allow me to make a copy of my article available on UPSpace? Can I negotiate with the publisher, or can I ask that an agreement be included in the publishing contract?

A: The conditions under which articles may be archived in UPSpace are summarised in the SHERPA/RoMEO database at The OAKList Database contains information on Australian journals and their policies. Many South African publishers are not listed here. We already have permission from many of them and are in the process of negotiating with the rest. If in doubt, send a message to If you know that the publisher does not allow archiving you should indeed consider amending the contract. The official UP Amendment to be added to your publication contract can be found at What if I make available a copy of my conference paper on UPSpace, and I still wish to publish it later on within a journal? Will I still be able to publish it in a journal if it is already available on UPSpace?

A: It depends on the journal publisher's conditions. It may be best to wait until your article has at least been accepted for publuication.

Open Access and the UP Research Report 

The UP Research Report lists all the articles written during a certain year. In a collaborative project with the Department of Research Support all articles that were archived in UPSpace have been linked to the annual Research Report citations since 2007. In this way the reports become much more useful to outside readers and the repository becomes part of the university's research infrastructure. This exercise is repeated each year. 

International Open Access Day celebrations

Over the last decade many gains have been made. To celebrate this successful collaboration between scholars, research administrators, librarians and publishers international open access day have been celebrated each year since 2008. 

The themes of the past years were as follows: 


We have asked a number of prominent UP researchers for their comments on open access. Here is what they have to say:

I support open access - do you?

If you want to add your voice please send us a message and picture of yourself

Prof Robin Crewe, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Postgraduate Studies
The opportunity to pursue scholarly activities in a free and unfettered manner is crucial to the development of knowledge based societies. One means of achieving this is through open access to scholarly material, particularly for scholars from poorly resourced developing countries. In addition, OA can make the work of scholars from these countries more widely accessible in both the developed and developing worlds. The University of Pretoria is committed to this goal.

Dhesigen Naidoo, Director of the Department of Research and Innovation Support
I do and will continue to support open access. It’s key to a more universal dissemination of research products to a range of audiences and stakeholders. It has huge potential for a wider and quicker uptake of new knowledge to better inform policy, develop and activate solutions for community development to eradicate poverty, to entrepreneurs to develop smarter products and services to create new and enhance existing industrial platforms to create sustainable livelihoods and improve our competitiveness. Open access is a key empowerment tool.

Prof Phil Botha, Department of Ancient Languages
Significant advances in knowledge can only be attained if researchers have immediate access to almost everything that has been published on a particular subject, especially the most recent contributions. Open Access is a quantum leap towards attaining this goal.

Prof Neil Roos: Director of Postgraduate Research
Dare we hope that in light of its potential to disrupt conventional patterns of scholarly publication and transform the readership of scholarly research, open access will invest research in the humanities and social sciences with new boldness, vitality and relevance?

Prof Mokubung Nkomo, Extraordinary Research Professor : Department of Education Management and Policy Studies
Knowledge is the global currency of our times; it gives us the purchasing power to enjoy life’s many wonderful gifts. Without it, we are reduced to nothingness. Thankfully, Open Access has opened the doors to an incredibly vast wealth of knowledge which is there for us to exploit without charge. What a fabulous moment in human history! Wa lala wa sala. (Zulu: If you are asleep life will pass you by)

Prof Venitha Pillay, Associate Professor : Department of Education Management and Policy Studies 

Open access opens up vistas of knowledge at the click of a button, it saves trees, it saves time, it saves money, it takes knowledge out of the ivory tower and puts it in the hands of anyone who chooses to use it!

Prof Alan Brent, Graduate School of Technology Management, University of Pretoria and School of Public Management and Planning, Stellenbosch University
Researchers in developing countries face many challenges; one being the availability of (financial) resources to gain access to information. The consequence is the potential limitation on the research work that can be undertaken in these countries. Open Access addresses this challenge directly and levels the platform for researchers from all countries to collaborate meaningfully.

Prof Theo Bothma, Head: Department of Information Science

Open access “publishing” through interoperable institutional repositories provides researchers with an excellent platform to showcase their research publications to the world. Exchange of research information is greatly enhanced and this may have a huge impact on especially the developing world. Open access publishing therefore requires that publishers, researchers and readers carefully rethink current scholarly publishing models.

Robert Moropa, Director: Library Services

One of the key objectives of the University of Pretoria (UP) is to be an internationally recognized research university. In line with this objective the UP Library Services has taken initiatives and implemented appropriate measures to enhance the impact of the research generated by the University community of researchers. One such step was to facilitate the adoption of the Open Access Mandate by the University in 2009. We are convinced therefore, that the OA Mandate will contribute immensely towards the attainment of this objective.


Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities

Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing

Canessa, E & Zennaro, M (eds) (2008) Science dissemination using open access. ICTP.

Carr, L & Harnad, S (2005) Keystroke economy: a study of the time and effort involved in self-archiving. Technical report UNSPECIFIED, ECS, University of Southampton. (Unpublished)

Directory of Open Access Journals.  

JISC/SURF Copyright Toolbox.

Journal Info.


OAKList Database
Open Access Day

openUP collection

Pappalardo, K (2008) Understanding open access in the academic environment: a guide for authors

Peter Suber. Open Access Overview.

Peter Suber. Timeline of the Open Access Movement.  

Peter Suber. A Very Brief Introduction to Open Access.

Pretoria University Law Press.

Publisher policies and self-archiving: SHERPA/RoMEO. .

Research funders' open access policies: SHERPA/Juliet. . 

University of Pretoria Electronic Theses and Dissertations (UPeTD)

Wikipedia on Open Access

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