Open Access terminology – guest blogger!

Today we’ve got a real treat for you, a post written by Laura Ennis, Edinburgh Napier University’s Information Services Advisor for the School of Life, Sports and Social Science. So sit back, grab a sandwich and a beverage of your choice and have a read at what Laura’s got to say about the terminology surrounding open access:

It’s a problem analogous to the irritation surrounding the naming of different sizes of coffee cups at your local caffeine-dispensary. Or perhaps a bit like the Big Train sketch where no one speaks English. Danny Kingsley hinted at this during her talk at RLUK;

If you’ve got particular language and jargon that’s what defines your discipline. So if you’re in a discipline that uses vernacular words like Scholarly Communication does, it’s really difficult… Words are a problem in the area of Scholarly Communication.”

The value of embracing unknown unknowns.

Open Access has suffered from a confusion of language for a long time now. Pre-print, post-print, what does it all mean, and according to whom? The CASRAI Dictionary project is meant to overcome this, however you will only find entries for two items, Preprint, and Journal Article. The latter being not especially helpful for our purposes. So to sate my curiosity more than anything, I took a closer look at the Open Access policies from different publishers, funders, and governing bodies and made note of the terms they were using. Of all the places I looked the report of the Working Group on Expanding Access to Published Research Findings (Finch Report) was the only document that clearly identified all the stages in the publication process, and named them explicitly. For simplicities sake, the terms used in the Finch Report are the terms I will use for the rest of this post.

Finch Report Author’s Original Submitted Manuscript Under Review Accepted Manuscript Version of Record Corrected Version of Record
CASRAI Preprint Journal Article
SHERPA Pre-Print Post-Print Publisher’s Version
Elsevier Preprint Accepted Manuscript Published Journal Article
Wiley Submitted Version Accepted Version Version of Record
Taylor & Francis Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) Version of Record
Springer Author’s Accepted Manuscript Final Published Version
SAGE Version 1 Version 2 Version 3
Wellcome Trust Final Peer Reviewed Manuscript Publisher’s PDF Version
RCUK Online Manuscript Version Accepted Manuscript Final Published Version
HEFCE Output Author’s Accepted and Final Peer-Reviewed


Final Published Version of Record

Notice how there is nothing between Accepted Manuscript and Version of Record? Nowhere had I looked could I find reference to the typeset version of the journal article, or proof, that many authors receive after the peer review process. After the Version of Record, this is the second most erroneously deposited type of document. Probably because no-one knows what to call it when talking about it – authors often think this is what we mean when we ask for the Accepted Manuscript. Neither did anyone talk about what to call a Version of Record that has been subjected to amendments, corrections, errata, or retraction and how such an article fits into the Open Access landscape. Confusingly, HEFCE uses the word “final” to describe both the Accepted Manuscript, and the Version of Record.

As Open Access gains momentum and become more important for all of us in Higher Education I hope we can move towards a common language. If nothing else, the above comparison should be a useful tool for those navigating the sometimes confusing world of academic publishing. We can all benefit from the future work of the CASRAI Dictionary project.

Laura also tweets as Laura in the Library @004dot678 and has a School of Life Sports and Social Sciences blog that you can success via her subject guide.