ODI's journals and open access

Some frequently asked questions about ODI's peer-reviewed journals and open access.

Does ODI support open access?
ODI is committed to providing open access to materials that we hold the copyright for. We have recently overhauled our website to offer better access to all our research, and digitised our back catalogue of papers and books. As of August 2013, over 4,700 publications are available to download for free from our website, the earliest dating back to 1963.

Can I access articles in ODI’s journals for free?
ODI does not hold copyright for articles in ODI’s two peer-reviewed journals, Development Policy Review and Disasters, so cannot directly publish these with open access. However, articles can still be accessed through the following methods:

  • Free access in developing countries. Both journals are available to qualifying institutions for free or low cost through the HINARI, AGORA and OARE initiatives. In 2012, 5,116 institutions were able to access our journals via these initiatives.
  • Author-funded open access. OnlineOpen is available to authors who wish to make their article freely available to all. This form of open access is mandated by a number of funding organisations, including Research Councils UK and The Wellcome Trust.
  • Author self-archiving. All authors can publish an electronic version of unpublished articles on their personal website, their employer’s website/repository and on free public servers in the subject area. The final accepted peer reviewed article can be put online in the same ways 24 months following publication in Development Policy Review or Disasters

A percentage of articles are chosen to be open access – at the discretion of the editor (ODI) or the publisher. For example, the following are freely accessible for DPR and Disasters:

  • The first issue of every volume (i.e. the January issue)
  • The introductory article of each theme issue
  • Specific issues and articles of interest, for certain periods of time.

This still leaves some users without free access to articles – particularly users outside academic institutions and in the developed world. At present, these users still need to subscribe or pay for individual article access.

Is ODI considering open access for journals?
Though the limitations on journal access to some users is not new, it is an issue that has become increasingly discussed in a global debate on open access to knowledge. The ground is moving quickly – new open access peer-reviewed journals are being founded and different forms of open access are being piloted or mandated in different countries.

ODI runs the journals at cost, using the income it receives to cover areas where ODI’s skills and experience can be put to best use, in particular, editorial oversight and support for this. Wiley Blackwell is contracted to publish both journals on our behalf until 2019. We work with them because they can deliver in areas we can’t. As a major publisher they can ensure:

  • delivery to libraries and research institutions across the world via a range of individual, packaged and philanthropic licences that meet the needs and budgets of end-users;
  • appropriate marketing; and
  • tools for managing submissions and peer review.

As we track the open access debates and think through the implications for our journals, we must always balance our desire for the widest possible access with the practical considerations of how to support articles of the quality and impact that are associated with Development Policy Review and Disasters.