SHERPA RoMEO – the really, really useful tool for researchers

Here’s something useful. Something practical that will help you quickly and easily find an essential piece of information when you’re trying to decide which journal you want to publish your research in. If you’ve got funding for your work, there will likely be some limitations or restrictions as to what you can do with your work. Where do you find the answer to this vital question – if I publish in my target journal will I comply with open access requirements so my work is eligible for the next REF?

This is a really important question that you need to ask yourself in the early stages of research. If you leave it until you’re almost ready to publish your work to find the answer, you may get an unwelcome surprise. You could find out that if you publish in your target journal, you won’t comply with open access requirements and that means your work is not eligible for the next REF. Better to find this out sooner rather than later. It doesn’t matter how good your work is, if it doesn’t comply, it won’t be in the REF.

Finding the answer to this question is quick and easy. The JISC service, SHERPA RoMEO has done the hard work for you and describes itself as:

“…an online resource that aggregates and analyses publisher open access policies from around the world and provides summaries of self-archiving permissions and conditions of rights given to authors on a journal-by-journal basis.”  [http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo/about.php?la=en&fIDnum=|&mode=simple Accessed 4 Oct 2017].

You can search by entering the journal title, ISSN or publisher name. There are simple and advanced search interfaces and results show Green, Blue, Yellow and White archiving policies, definitions of which are displayed on the SHERPA RoMEO homepage. There’s also a link to an A-Z list of the publishers included in SHERPA RoMEO too.

SHERPA RoMEO is a comprehensive database but what do you do if you’ve searched for your target journal and can’t find it? If the journal isn’t included in the database, go to the publisher’s website or the journal homepage and look for their open access, archiving or copyright policy to find the information you need. You should also try looking under author submission guidance.

The good news is that SHERPA RoMEO is freely available, you don’t need to register to use it and there are no special usernames or passwords needed. All in all, it’s a really useful tool specifically designed to help researchers find the information they need.