#OpenAccessWeek2020: Year in review

Open Access publishing is taking the world by storm, partly thanks to initiatives such as Plan S, and this year, Durham academics have published a huge amount of articles that are gold open access – often with a Creative Commons attribution licence – which means they are free to read, download, share and adapt as long as you give appropriate credit.

This year, we’ve subscribed to more ‘Read and Publish’ deals than ever before, which means more of our researchers have benefitted from open access publishing. The library receives funding from UKRI to publish articles that acknowledge a UK Research Council grant code open access – but this means that any academics funded by other means can face obstacles if they want to publish open access (and believe me, we HATE saying no to making your articles open access!) Many of the new deals have been accessible to all Durham corresponding authors – you can find out more about the deals we have available (and any updates) on our guides. We are hopeful that we will be able to continue to offer many of these deals in a post-Covid world – we will keep you posted with any information for 2021 and beyond.

So, moving on to the actual research – here are some of our #OpenAccess highlights of 2020.


The Springer Compact Deal has been one of our longest running Read and Publish deals and is available to all Durham corresponding authors who wish to publish in a hybrid journal.

Karen Hind from the Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences was the corresponding author for ‘Cumulative Sport-Related Injuries and Longer Term Impact in Retired Male Elite- and Amateur-Level Rugby Code Athletes and Non-contact Athletes: A Retrospective Study’ (doi.org/10.1007/s40279-020-01310-y).

This article has received a lot of attention, as shown by Altmetric, which has given it a ‘high attention score’. Altmetric provides a breakdown of the demographics of people tweeting about it – in this case, at the time of writing, the highest proportion are ‘members of the public’ at 56%. We hope this suggests that people who do not have the typical institutional access to academic articles are reading and benefitting from this open access article!

So far, the article has been picked up by 80 outlets in 145 news stories by Altmetric – for example, check out this article from The Independent newspaper: ‘Rugby authorities not doing enough to protext players from long-term injury, study finds’.


Wiley Read and Publish is one of our newer deals, and since it was launched in March, we have approved 64 articles from across all of our faculties to be made open access. Again, this deal is limited to Durham corresponding authors, but the deal covers both pure and hybrid open access titles.*

We were delighted to approve a request from Imogen Bailes, an undergraduate from Earth Sciences – now studying for a Masters in the department, to publish her first article open access. Imogen worked alongside Dr Darren Gröcke from the department on: ‘Isotopically‐labelled macroalgae: a new method for determining sources of excess nitrogen pollution’ (doi.org/10.1002/rcm.8951) – such an amazing achievement for Imogen at the start of her academic career.

*The Wiley deal was negotiated on behalf of UK institutions by Jisc Collections – unfortunately, there was a finite amount of articles that could be made open access in 2020 and therefore, from October 12th 2020, the decision was made on a national level that only articles by certain funders could be approved – however, all is not lost, as we do have some credit with Wiley to use, and as long as this is available, you will be given this option when signing your licence to publish.


‘Healthcare practitioner relationships, cultural health capital and breastfeeding support for adolescent mothers’ (doi.org/10.1177/0017896920915945) was published in May 2020 and co-authored by the Department of Sociology’s Kimberley Jamie, along with Durham Law School’s Hannah Bows and colleagues from Queen’s University Belfast and Bristol Medical School. We were able to promote this research as part of World Breastfeeding Week, 2020 – as awareness weeks have a wide audience, it is really wonderful to be able to share open research that can contribute to the discussion amongst society.

Our Sage deal is still available this year and we encourage our academics to take advantage of it – when a Durham corresponding author is recognised by Sage you should be given an option to request open access – the open access team will then pre-approve your article. At this point, you will be notified and will be able to pick your creative commons licence.

UKRI funded research

The library receives a Block Grant from UKRI to faciliate research funded by one of the UK Research Councils being published gold open access.

Suzanne Froggatt is a PhD student from the Psychology Department who is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). Her research focusses on the effects of nicotine on fetal and infant behaviour and she has a number of publications in this area, including ‘The effects of prenatal cigarette and e-cigarette exposure on infant neurobehaviour: A comparison to a control group’ (doi.org/10.1016/j.eclinm.2020.100602), published in Eclinicalmedicine. At the time of writing, this article is hot off the press and Suzanne has been interviewed on national radio about this research as well as being profiled on the university’s latest research pages).

Any listener to the radio interview or a reader of the university’s promotional material would then be able to read the original research – the increased visibility of the research could be helpful for expectant mothers or anyone supporting them to make informed decisions about smoking or e-cigarettes during pregnancy.

Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) and American Chemical Society (ACS)

RSC and ACS have offered the university a number of vouchers to publish open access during 2020 – they have been popular with academics from The Department of Chemistry (obviously!) but also, the Department of Physics and Earth Sciences have also benefitted. Dr Kislon Voitchovsky is one of our researchers who has benefitted from these deals: Impact of water on the lubricating properties of hexadecane at the nanoscale in RSC’s Nanoscale (doi.org/10.1039/d0nr03642k) and Effect of Ageing on the Structure and Properties of Model Liquid-Infused Surfaces in ACS’s Langmuir (doi.org/10.1021/acs.langmuir.0c00059) – last year members of the open access team chatted to Kislon and we were blown away by his enthusiasm for open access – you can read more about this on our blog post from OA Week 2019.

“I really would like anybody from anywhere in the world to be able to just download that report or whatever I have published and read through it”

Dr Kislon Voitchovsky, 2019.

To benefit from any of the deals mentioned (and more – we have deals for free APCs in Brill journals and certain Institute of Physics titles too!) please check out our Open Access guide.

The list of articles that have been published by the gold open access route this year is getting increasingly longer; something we are so excited to see and we hope our Durham researchers find the increased accessibility to their research helps make it more visible. However, it is important to remember that green open access is also available through Durham Research Online – and our team are more than happy to help you deposit your article in our repository – not only will this help meet university policy and REF requirements for articles, but hopefully, it will help research reach those who might otherwise be unable to access it.

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