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Open Access Publishing

Defining Open Access

What is Open Access (OA)?

Open Access means that information is: (A) freely available, (B) published digitally online, (C) has few restrictions on its use or reproduction.

What are the origins of the OA movement?

The Open Access movement is the result of a recent scholarly communication crisis, where the pricing model of academic journals became unsustainable for many educational institutions. That crisis, combined with the low cost of online publishing and distribution, led to a dramatic increase in open access publications.

How does OA publishing work?   

Authors can self-archive a copy of their work in a subject or institutional repository (Green Open Access).

Authors can also publish in a fully open-access journal  (Gold Open Access). These journals are not subscription-based, but instead, get financial support by asking authors to pay Article Processing Charges (APC), or they are funded by scholarly associations or institutional funds. Some journals operate on a hybrid model, meaning they are subscription-based, but do give authors an option to choose to pay an APC to make their work available for open access.

Who Benefits from OA publication?

Faculty: increased visibility and availability of work can lead to it having a greater impact.

Students/Teachers: increased access to more information can enhance learning, especially in developing nations.

Libraries: increased access to information for patrons, for less money than the subscription journal model costs.

Universities: greater visibility of research outputs.

General Public: greater access to information, especially to the results of publicly funded research.

Learn More

Learn more about Open Access by watching this brief video, or exploring the association websites listed below.

Outreach Organizations

Below are links to two of the major advocacy groups that support the open access movement.

Open Access Myths

Myth #1: Open access journals are of poorer quality than traditional subscription-based journals.

Studies show that Open Access journals can be of the same quality, or even higher quality, than some subscription journals. With the increase in OA publication, additional ways of measuring quality, such as article-level metrics, are also becoming more popular.

Myth #2: The peer-review process is not as rigorous in open access journals as it is for subscription journals.

While some predatory open access journals do not follow a proper peer review process, the vast majority of open access publications are run in an ethically and academically sound manner. It is important for authors and readers to get into the habit of critically evaluating the quality of the journals and research they encounter.

Myth #3: Publishing my work open access is an altruistic thing to do, but there is no benefit for me.

Open Access publications do have economic and social benefits, but they also have academic benefits for individual authors. Multiple studies have shown increases in article-level metrics for open access articles, such as citation count, article download, and share rate.

Myth #4: Publishing in a subscription journal closes the door on making the same work open access.

Many journals have developed policies which allow authors to make their work open access in a digital repository after a specified embargo period.

Myth #5: If I want to publish open access, I will have to pay the Author Processing Charges (APC's) myself.

Many open access journals are supported by society, or outside funders and do not charge any APC's. Check out the DOAJ's list of journals that do not charge APC's.

In addition, when APC's are required to publish in a journal, many institutions, including Jefferson, also offer financial assistance with APC's through open access funds. Grant funding can also often be used to pay journal APC's.

Myth #6: Open access publications will not count towards promotion and tenure.

If an article is published in an open-access journal with a good reputation and peer review process, there is no good reason why it would not count for promotion or tenure. However, there is still much that P&T committees can do to fully support the open access movement and encourage faculty to submit to these publications.

Supporting Open Access

There are many actions that Jefferson faculty and students can take to support Open Access Publishing:

(1) Start by negotiating with your publisher to retain copyright to your work so that you can submit your published work to open access repositories, such as the Jefferson Digital Commons (JDC).

(2) Use Open Access resources in your research and teaching.

(3) Publish your own work in an Open Access Journal. 

(4) See if you can make an already published work Open Access.

(5) Volunteer to serve as a peer reviewer or editor for an OA  journal.

(6) Advocate for promotion and tenure committees to include support for OA journal publication in their policies .

(7) Encourage discussion of scholarly publishing issues in your department or school.

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