Copyright and Open Access


All documents deposited in an open archive are under copyright law. Copyright differs from one publisher to the other. If you decide to publish in an Open Access journal, you will be able to freely deposit your articles in the Archive. Otherwise, check out the My Publisher's policy of your choice. The team of Archive ouverte UNIGE is at your disposal to answer any questions on that score.

However, be aware that the majority of publishers allow authors to deposit their version of the post-prints in an institutional archive. The site RoMEO displays the politics of a certain number of big publishers for each of their journal.

Open Access

The term Open Access (OA) stands for free access. Electronic documents in OA can be retrieved by all users on a free, irrevocable and universal basis. In order to participate in the OA, authors must deposit an electronic version of their text in an institutional server or publish their article in a journal governed by the OA model.

Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, search, print and create links to the full text, for all use, without any restriction but with quotation obligation.

The Swiss Science National Foundation (SNF) published in July 2007 a Directive on Open Access for scientific publications released for projects encouraged by the SNF with the aim to encourage Open Access in Switzerland. A Regulations on information, valorisation and rights to research results published in June 2008 supersedes and extends the previous Directive, requiring that all research results which it has financed should be published in Open Access.

The website brings you answers to all kind of questions you may have regarding open access, and more specifically on legal issues related to swiss laws.

If you wish to consult journals in Open Access, check out the Directory of Open Access Journal (DOAJ).


What is my advantage to deposit my publications on line in Open Access?

There is a direct correlation between the rate of quotations of an article in the literature and the number of downloads of an article deposited on line in Open Access. In other words, the curve of downloads is identical to the curve of quotations, but the latter occurs later in time. The number of downloads allows anticipating the rate of future quotations. This is very convenient to evaluate young researchers who would have published recently and introduced their publications in Open Access.

Isn’t there a danger that Open Access will destroy the actual system of scientific communication? How will researchers be evaluated?

The debate on these questions opposes the upholders of the publication system by means of commercial journals sold by subscription and the upholders of new economic models proposing that journals should finance themselves through payment at the time of submission of the articles. However, everybody agrees that scientific publishers provide expertise and added value to the publication process and that the control system by peers who evaluate the quality of the scientific publications (peer-review) must be conserved in Open Access.

Open Access has already begun to transform the publishing process and the dissemination of scientific knowledge. On January 1st 2005 already, over 90% of big scientific publishers accepted that authors auto-archive their publications, in a variable time limit according to the discipline. Furthermore, several countries and research institutions have already accepted and implemented the model Open Access and encourage their researchers to publish in journals of this type. In Switzerland, several universities have by now taken the plunge and archive their publications.

I don’t hold diffusion rights on the Internet. What can I do?

If this right has been refused or if you don’t wish to solicit it, you must nevertheless deposit the full text of your publications in the Archive ouverte. Their diffusion will be limited, either to the community of the University of Geneva or temporally (embargo), according to the requirements of your publisher. Please specify these limitations in the data entry form when submitting your document.

May I archive the PDF version released by the publisher?

Allowing for exceptions (please check with your publisher), the PDF version corresponding with the final publication of your document cannot be used for the institutional archive. Therefore, we ask you to deposit a different version in Archive ouverte UNIGE, for example the version you sent to your publisher before the final layout.

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