Open access

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Open access logo, originally designed by Public Library of Science

Open access (OA) is a mechanism by which research outputs are distributed online, free of cost or other barriers, [1] and, in its most precise meaning, with the addition of an open license applied to promote reuse. [1]

Research formal work undertaken systematically to increase the stock of knowledge

Research comprises "creative and systematic work undertaken to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of humans, culture and society, and the use of this stock of knowledge to devise new applications." It is used to establish or confirm facts, reaffirm the results of previous work, solve new or existing problems, support theorems, or develop new theories. A research project may also be an expansion on past work in the field. Research projects can be used to develop further knowledge on a topic, or in the example of a school research project, they can be used to further a student's research prowess to prepare them for future jobs or reports. To test the validity of instruments, procedures, or experiments, research may replicate elements of prior projects or the project as a whole. The primary purposes of basic research are documentation, discovery, interpretation, or the research and development (R&D) of methods and systems for the advancement of human knowledge. Approaches to research depend on epistemologies, which vary considerably both within and between humanities and sciences. There are several forms of research: scientific, humanities, artistic, economic, social, business, marketing, practitioner research, life, technological, etc.


Academic articles (as historically seen in print-based academic journals) have been the main focus of the movement. Conventional (non-open access) journals cover publishing costs through access tolls such as subscriptions, site licenses or pay-per-view charges. Open access can be applied to all forms of published research output, including peer-reviewed and non peer-reviewed academic journal articles, conference papers, theses, [2] book chapters, [1] and monographs. [3]

Academic journal peer-reviewed periodical relating to a particular academic discipline

An academic or scholarly journal is a periodical publication in which scholarship relating to a particular academic discipline is published. Academic journals serve as permanent and transparent forums for the presentation, scrutiny, and discussion of research. They are usually peer-reviewed or refereed. Content typically takes the form of articles presenting original research, review articles, and book reviews. The purpose of an academic journal, according to Henry Oldenburg, is to give researchers a venue to "impart their knowledge to one another, and contribute what they can to the Grand design of improving natural knowledge, and perfecting all Philosophical Arts, and Sciences."

The subscription business model is a business model in which a customer must pay a recurring price at regular intervals for access to a product or service. The model was pioneered by publishers of books and periodicals in the 17th century, and is now used by many businesses and websites.

Pay-per-view (PPV) is a type of pay television service by which a viewer can purchase events to view via private telecast. The broadcaster shows the event at the same time to everyone ordering it.


OA by year.png
The number and proportion of open access articles split between Gold, Green, Hybrid, Bronze and closed access (from 1950 - 2016). [4]
OA by subject.png
Ratios of article access types for different subjects (averaged 2009 - 2015). [4]
Number of Gold open access journals listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals. DOAJ growth.png
Number of Gold open access journals listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals.
Number of Gold and Hybrid open access journals listed in PubMed Central. PMC growth.png
Number of Gold and Hybrid open access journals listed in PubMed Central.
Number of open access repositories listed in the Registry of Open Access Repositories. ROAR growth.png
Number of open access repositories listed in the Registry of Open Access Repositories.


Various studies have investigated the extent of open access. A study published in 2010 showed that roughly 20% of the total number of peer-reviewed articles published in 2008 could be found openly accessible. [10] Another study found that by 2010, 7.9% of all academic journals with impact factors were gold open access journals and showed a broad distribution of Gold Open Access journals throughout academic disciplines. [11] A study of random journals from the citations indexes AHSCI, SCI and SSCI in 2013 came to the result that 88% of the journals were closed access and 12% were open access. [12] In August 2013, a study done for the European Commission reported that 50% of a random sample of all articles published in 2011 as indexed by Scopus were freely accessible online by the end of 2012. [13] [14] [15] A 2017 study by the Max Planck Society put the share of gold access articles in pure open access journals at around 13 percent of total research papers. [16]

The impact factor (IF) or journal impact factor (JIF) of an academic journal is a measure reflecting the yearly average number of citations to recent articles published in that journal. It is frequently used as a proxy for the relative importance of a journal within its field; journals with higher impact factors are often deemed to be more important than those with lower ones. The impact factor was devised by Eugene Garfield, the founder of the Institute for Scientific Information. Impact factors are calculated yearly starting from 1975 for journals listed in the Journal Citation Reports.

A citation index is a kind of bibliographic index, an index of citations between publications, allowing the user to easily establish which later documents cite which earlier documents. A form of citation index is first found in 12th-century Hebrew religious literature. Legal citation indexes are found in the 18th century and were made popular by citators such as Shepard's Citations (1873). In 1960, Eugene Garfield's Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) introduced the first citation index for papers published in academic journals, first the Science Citation Index (SCI), and later the Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI) and the Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI). The first automated citation indexing was done by CiteSeer in 1997. Other sources for such data include Google Scholar and Elsevier's Scopus.

European Commission executive institution of the European Union

The European Commission (EC) is an institution of the European Union, responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the EU treaties and managing the day-to-day business of the EU. Commissioners swear an oath at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg City, pledging to respect the treaties and to be completely independent in carrying out their duties during their mandate. Unlike in the Council of the European Union, where members are directly and indirectly elected, and the European Parliament, where members are directly elected, the Commissioners are proposed by the Council of the European Union, on the basis of suggestions made by the national governments, and then appointed by the European Council after the approval of the European Parliament.

In 2009, there were approximately 4,800 active open access journals, publishing around 190,000 articles. [17] As of February 2019, over 12,500 open access journals are listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals. [18]

The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) is a website that hosts a community-curated list of open access journals, maintained by Infrastructure Services for Open Access (IS4OA). The project defines open access journals as scientific and scholarly journals making all their content available for free, without delay or user-registration requirement, and meeting high quality standards, notably by exercising peer review or editorial quality control. DOAJ uses the Budapest Open Access Initiative's definition of open access to define required rights given to users, for the journal to be included, as the rights to "read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of [the] articles, or use them for any other lawful purpose". The aim of DOAJ is to "increase the visibility, accessibility, reputation, usage and impact of quality, peer-reviewed, open access scholarly research journals".

The Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR) indexes the creation, location and growth of open access open access repositories and their contents. [19] As of February 2019, over 4,500 institutional and cross-institutional repositories have been registered in ROAR. [20]

Registry of Open Access Repositories online database of open access digital repositories throughout the world

The Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR) is a searchable international database indexing the creation, location and growth of open access institutional repositories and their contents. ROAR was created by EPrints at University of Southampton, UK, in 2003. It began as the Institutional Archives Registry and was renamed Registry of Open Access Repositories in 2006. To date, over 3,000 institutional and cross-institutional repositories have been registered.


Open access research does not require payment to access articles, and is instead funded through other means. The main routes to open access are:

Self-archiving is the act of depositing a free copy of an electronic document online in order to provide open access to it. The term usually refers to the self-archiving of peer-reviewed research journal and conference articles, as well as theses and book chapters, deposited in the author's own institutional repository or open archive for the purpose of maximizing its accessibility, usage and citation impact. The term green open access has become common in recent years, distinguishing this approach from gold open access, where the journal itself makes the articles publicly available without charge to the reader.

Advantages and disadvantages of open access have generated considerable discussion amongst researchers, academics, librarians, university administrators, funding agencies, government officials, commercial publishers, editorial staff and society publishers. [23] Reactions of existing publishers to open access journal publishing have ranged from moving with enthusiasm to a new open access business model, to experiments with providing as much free or open access as possible, to active lobbying against open access proposals. There are many publishers that started up as open access-only publishers, such as PLOS, Hindawi Publishing Corporation, Frontiers in... journals, MDPI and BioMed Central.

Gratis and libre open access

In order to reflect actual practice in providing two different types of open access, the further distinction between gratis open access and libre open access was added in 2006 by the principal drafter of the original BOAI definition. [24] Gratis open access refers to online access free of charge, and libre open access refers to online access free of charge plus some additional re-use rights. [24] Libre open access covers the kinds of open access defined in the Budapest Open Access Initiative, the Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing and the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities. The re-use rights of libre OA are often specified by various specific Creative Commons licenses; [25] almost all of these require attribution of authorship to the original authors. [24] [26]

Open access publishing

One option for authors who wish to make their work openly accessible is to publish in a journal or book that makes research output immediately available from the publisher. [27] This is sometimes referred to as gold open access. [1]

There are many financial models for open access publications. [28] Open access can be provided by commercial publishers, who may publish open access as well as subscription-based journals, or dedicated open-access publishers such as Public Library of Science (PLOS) and BioMed Central. Variations on open access journal models include:

Article processing charges

In one model of open access, journals generate revenue by charging publication fees in order to make the work openly available at the time of publication. [34] [12] [32] The money might come from the author but more often comes from the author's research grant or employer [35] . Some publishers will waive all or part of the fee for authors from less developed economies. Journals charging publication fees normally take various steps to ensure that peer reviewers do not know whether authors have requested, or been granted, fee waivers, or to ensure that every paper is approved by an independent editor with no financial stake in the journal.[ citation needed ] While the payments are often incurred per article published (e.g. BMC journals or PLOS ONE), there are some journals that apply them per manuscript submitted (e.g. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics until recently) or per author (e.g. PeerJ). As of June 2018, only 26% of journals in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) required payment of article processing charges. A 2013 study showed this practice was higher in journals with a scientific or medical focus (43% and 47% respectively), and lowest in journals publishing in the arts and humanities (0% and 4% respectively). [36] Traditionally, many academic journals levied page charges, long before open access became a possibility [37] .

There currently is a growing global debate [38] [39] [40] [41] [42] regarding open access's ideology and ethics and its related article processing charges, as they are being created and managed by academic journal and monograph publisher conglomerates together with some national and international academic institutions and government bodies. One controversy is "double dipping", where both authors and subscribers are charged. [43]

Subsidized open access publications

No-fee open access journals, also known as "platinum" or "diamond" [12] [32] have no fees for readers and no article processing charges or publication fees for authors. [44] They use a variety of business models. As summarized by Peter Suber: [45] "Some no-fee OA journals have direct or indirect subsidies from institutions like universities, laboratories, research centers, libraries, hospitals, museums, learned societies, foundations, or government agencies. Some have revenue from a separate line of non-OA publications. Some have revenue from advertising, auxiliary services, membership dues, endowments, reprints, or a print or premium edition. Some rely, more than other journals, on volunteerism. Some undoubtedly use a combination of these means".

Open access monographs are subsidized through a variety of means as well. Knowledge Unlatched and crowdsource funding in order to make a work available open access. [46] [47]


Like the self-archived green open access articles, most gold open access journal articles are distributed via the World Wide Web, [1] due to low distribution costs, increasing reach, speed, and increasing importance for scholarly communication. Open source software is sometimes used for open access repositories, [48] open access journal websites, [49] and other aspects of open access provision and open access publishing.

Access to online content requires Internet access, and this distributional consideration presents physical and sometimes financial barriers to access.

There are various open access aggregators that list open access journals or articles. ROAD [50] (the Directory of Open Access scholarly Resources) synthesizes information about open access journals and is a subset of the ISSN register. SHERPA/RoMEO lists international publishers that allow the published version of articles to be deposited in institutional repositories. The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) contains over 12,500 peer-reviewed open access journals for searching and browsing. [51] [52]

Open access articles can be found with a web search, using any general search engine or those specialized for the scholarly and scientific literature, such as Google Scholar, OAIster,, [53], [54] and CORE [55] Many open-access repositories offer a programmable interface to query their content. Some of them use a generic protocol, such as OAI-PMH (e.g., [54] ). In addition, some repositories propose a specific API, such as the arXiv API, the Dissemin API, the Unpaywall/oadoi API, or the base-search API.

In 1998, several universities founded the Public Knowledge Project to foster open access, and developed the open-source journal publishing system Open Journal Systems, among other scholarly software projects. As of 2010, it was being used by approximately 5,000 journals worldwide. [56]

Several initiatives provide an alternative to the English language dominance of existing publication indexing systems, including Index Copernicus (Polish), SciELO (Portuguese, Spanish) and Redalyc (Spanish).

Policies and mandates

Many universities, research institutions and research funders have adopted mandates requiring their researchers to make their research publications open access. [57] For example, Research Councils UK spent nearly £60m on supporting their open access mandate between 2013 and 2016. [58]

The idea of mandating self-archiving was mooted at least as early as 1998. [59] Since 2003 [60] efforts have been focused on open access mandating by the funders of research: governments, [61] research funding agencies, [62] and universities. [63] Some publishers and publisher associations have lobbied against introducing mandates. [64] [65] [66]

The Registry of Open Access Repository Mandates and Policies (ROARMAP) is a searchable international database charting the growth of open access mandates. As of February 2019, mandates have been registered by over 700 universities (including Harvard, MIT, Stanford, University College London, and University of Edinburgh) and over 100 research funders worldwide. [67]


Open access (mostly green and gratis) began to be sought and provided worldwide by researchers when the possibility itself was opened by the advent of Internet and the World Wide Web. The momentum was further increased by a growing movement for academic journal publishing reform, and with it gold and libre OA.

The premises behind open access publishing are that there are viable funding models to maintain traditional peer review standards of quality while also making the following changes:

An obvious advantage of open access journals is the free access to scientific papers regardless of affiliation with a subscribing library and improved access for the general public; this is especially true in developing countries. Lower costs for research in academia and industry have been claimed in the Budapest Open Access Initiative, [69] although others have argued that OA may raise the total cost of publication, [70] and further increase economic incentives for exploitation in academic publishing. [71] The open access movement is motivated by the problems of social inequality caused by restricting access to academic research, which favor large and wealthy institutions with the financial means to purchase access to many journals, as well as the economic challenges and perceived unsustainability of academic publishing. [68] [72]

Stakeholders and concerned communities

The intended audience of research articles is usually other researchers. Open access helps researchers as readers by opening up access to articles that their libraries do not subscribe to. One of the great beneficiaries of open access may be users in developing countries, where currently some universities find it difficult to pay for subscriptions required to access the most recent journals. [73] Some schemes exist for providing subscription scientific publications to those affiliated to institutions in developing countries at little or no cost. [74] All researchers benefit from open access as no library can afford to subscribe to every scientific journal and most can only afford a small fraction of them – this is known as the "serials crisis". [75]

Open access extends the reach of research beyond its immediate academic circle. An open access article can be read by anyone – a professional in the field, a researcher in another field, a journalist, a politician or civil servant, or an interested layperson. Indeed, a 2008 study revealed that mental health professionals are roughly twice as likely to read a relevant article if it is freely available. [76]

Author citation advantage

Authors may use form language like this to request an open access license when submitting their work to a publisher Open access addendum for authors to publishers.pdf
Authors may use form language like this to request an open access license when submitting their work to a publisher
An interview on paywalls and open access with NIH Director Francis Collins and inventor Jack Andraka

The main reason authors make their articles openly accessible is to maximize their research impact. [77] There have been claims of higher citation rates for open access authors. [78] The overall citation rates for a time period of 2 years (2010–2011) were 30% higher for subscription journals, but, after controlling for discipline, journal age and publisher location, the differences largely disappeared in most subcategories, except for those launched prior to 1996. [79] A study in 2001 first reported an open access citation impact advantage, [80]

Two major studies dispute the claim that open access articles lead to more citations. [81] [82] A randomized controlled trial of open access publishing involving 36 participating journals in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities found that open access articles (n=712) received significantly more downloads and reached a broader audience within the first year, yet were cited no more frequently, nor earlier, than subscription-access control articles (n=2533) within 3 years. [81]

Many other studies, both major and minor and with varying degrees of methodological rigor, find that an open access article is more likely to be used and cited than one behind subscription barriers. [83]

For example, a 2006 study in PLoS Biology found that articles published as immediate open access in PNAS were three times more likely to be cited than non-open access papers, and were also cited more than PNAS articles that were only self-archived. [78] This result has been challenged as an artifact of authors self-selectively paying to publish their higher quality articles in hybrid open access journals, [84] whereas a 2010 study found that the open access citation advantage was equally big whether self-archiving was self-selected or mandated. [85]

A 2010 study of 27,197 articles in 1,984 journals used institutionally mandated open access instead of randomized open access to control for bias on the part of authors toward self-selectively making their better (hence more citeable) articles open access. The result was a replication of the repeatedly reported open access citation advantage, with the advantage being equal in size and significance whether the open access was self-selected or mandated. [85]

A 2016 study reported that the odds of an open access journal being referenced on the English Wikipedia are 47% higher than for paywalled journals, and suggested that this constitutes a significant "amplifier" effect for science published on such platforms. [86]

Scholars are paid by research funders and/or their universities to do research; the published article is the report of the work they have done, rather than an item for commercial gain. The more the article is used, cited, applied and built upon, the better for research as well as for the researcher's career. [87] [88] Open access can reduce publication delays, an obstacle which led some research fields such as high-energy physics to adopt widespread preprint access. [89]

Some professional organizations have encouraged use of open access: in 2001, the International Mathematical Union communicated to its members that "Open access to the mathematical literature is an important goal" and encouraged them to "[make] available electronically as much of our own work as feasible" to "[enlarge] the reservoir of freely available primary mathematical material, particularly helping scientists working without adequate library access". [90]

Research funders and universities

Research funding agencies and universities want to ensure that the research they fund and support in various ways has the greatest possible research impact. [91] As a means of achieving this, research funders are beginning to expect open access to the research they support. Many of them (including all UK Research Councils) have already adopted open access mandates, and others are on the way to do so (see ROARMAP).

In the US, the 2008 NIH Public Access Policy, an open access mandate was put into law, and required that research papers describing research funded by the National Institutes of Health must be available to the public free through PubMed Central (PMC) within 12 months of publication.


A growing number of universities are providing institutional repositories in which their researchers can deposit their published articles. Some open access advocates believe that institutional repositories will play a very important role in responding to open access mandates from funders. [92]

In May 2005, 16 major Dutch universities cooperatively launched DAREnet, the Digital Academic Repositories, making over 47,000 research papers available. [93] From 2 June 2008, DAREnet has been incorporated into the scholarly portal NARCIS. [94] By 2019, NARCIS provided access to 360,000 open access publications from all Dutch universities, KNAW, NWO and a number of scientific institutes. [95]

In 2011, a group of universities in North America formed the Coalition of Open Access Policy Institutions (COAPI). [96] Starting with 21 institutions where the faculty had either established an open access policy or were in the process of implementing one, COAPI now has nearly 50 members. These institutions' administrators, faculty and librarians, and staff support the international work of the Coalition's awareness-raising and advocacy for open access.

In 2012, the Harvard Open Access Project released its guide to good practices for university open-access policies, [97] focusing on rights-retention policies that allow universities to distribute faculty research without seeking permission from publishers. Rights retention is currently being explored in the UK by UKSCL. [98]

In 2013 a group of nine Australian universities formed the Australian Open Access Support Group (AOASG) to advocate, collaborate, raise awareness, and lead and build capacity in the open access space in Australia. [99] In 2015, the group expanded to include all eight New Zealand universities and was renamed the Australasian Open Access Support Group. [100] It was then renamed the Australasian Open Access Strategy Group, highlighting its emphasis on strategy. The awareness raising activities of the AOASG include presentations, workshops, blogs, and a webinar series on open access issues. [101]

Libraries and librarians

As information professionals, librarians are often vocal and active advocates of open access. These librarians believe that open access promises to remove both the price barriers and the permission barriers that undermine library efforts to provide access to the scholarly record, [102] as well as helping to address the serials crisis. Many library associations have either signed major open access declarations, or created their own. For example, IFLA have produced a Statement on Open Access. [103]

Librarians also lead education and outreach initiatives to faculty, administrators, and others about the benefits of open access. For example, the Association of College and Research Libraries of the American Library Association has developed a Scholarly Communications Toolkit. [104] The Association of Research Libraries has documented the need for increased access to scholarly information, and was a leading founder of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC). [105] [106]

At most universities, the library manages the institutional repository, which provides free access to scholarly work by the university's faculty. The Canadian Association of Research Libraries has a program [107] to develop institutional repositories at all Canadian university libraries.

An increasing number of libraries provide hosting services for open access journals. A 2008 survey by the Association of Research Libraries [108] found that 65% of surveyed libraries either are involved in journal publishing, or are planning to become involved in the very near future. [109]

In 2013, open access activist Aaron Swartz was posthumously awarded the American Library Association's James Madison Award for being an "outspoken advocate for public participation in government and unrestricted access to peer-reviewed scholarly articles". [110] [111] In March 2013, the entire editorial board and the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Library Administration resigned en masse, citing a dispute with the journal's publisher. [112] One board member wrote of a "crisis of conscience about publishing in a journal that was not open access" after the death of Aaron Swartz. [113] [114]

The pioneer of the open access movement in France and one of the first librarians to advocate the self-archiving approach to open access worldwide is Hélène Bosc. [115] Her work is described in her "15-year retrospective". [116]


Open access to scholarly research is argued to be important to the public for a number of reasons. One of the arguments for public access to the scholarly literature is that most of the research is paid for by taxpayers through government grants, who therefore have a right to access the results of what they have funded. This is one of the primary reasons for the creation of advocacy groups such as The Alliance for Taxpayer Access in the US. [117] Examples of people who might wish to read scholarly literature include individuals with medical conditions (or family members of such individuals) and serious hobbyists or 'amateur' scholars who may be interested in specialized scientific literature (e.g. amateur astronomers). Additionally, professionals in many fields may be interested in continuing education in the research literature of their field, and many businesses and academic institutions cannot afford to purchase articles from or subscriptions to much of the research literature that is published under a toll access model.

Even those who do not read scholarly articles benefit indirectly from open access. [118] For example, patients benefit when their doctor and other health care professionals have access to the latest research. As argued by open access advocates, open access speeds research progress, productivity, and knowledge translation. [119] Every researcher in the world can read an article, not just those whose library can afford to subscribe to the particular journal in which it appears. Faster discoveries benefit everyone. High school and junior college students can gain the information literacy skills critical for the knowledge age. Critics of the various open access initiatives claim that there is little evidence that a significant amount of scientific literature is currently unavailable to those who would benefit from it. [120] While no library has subscriptions to every journal that might be of benefit, virtually all published research can be acquired via interlibrary loan. [121] Note that interlibrary loan may take a day or weeks depending on the loaning library and whether they will scan and email, or mail the article. Open access online, by contrast is faster, often immediate, making it more suitable than interlibrary loan for fast-paced research.

Low-income countries

In developing nations, open access archiving and publishing acquires a unique importance. Scientists, health care professionals, and institutions in developing nations often do not have the capital necessary to access scholarly literature, although schemes exist to give them access for little or no cost. Among the most important is HINARI, [122] the Health InterNetwork Access to Research Initiative, sponsored by the World Health Organization. HINARI, however, also has restrictions. For example, individual researchers may not register as users unless their institution has access, [123] and several countries that one might expect to have access do not have access at all (not even "low-cost" access) (e.g. South Africa). [123]

Many open access projects involve international collaboration. For example, the SciELO (Scientific Electronic Library Online), [124] is a comprehensive approach to full open access journal publishing, involving a number of Latin American countries. Bioline International, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping publishers in developing countries is a collaboration of people in the UK, Canada, and Brazil; the Bioline International Software is used around the world. Research Papers in Economics (RePEc), is a collaborative effort of over 100 volunteers in 45 countries. The Public Knowledge Project in Canada developed the open-source publishing software Open Journal Systems (OJS), which is now in use around the world, for example by the African Journals Online group, and one of the most active development groups is Portuguese. This international perspective has resulted in advocacy for the development of open-source appropriate technology and the necessary open access to relevant information for sustainable development. [125] [126]


The main argument against open access, author's paid fee based journals, is the possible damage to the peer review system, diminishing the overall quality of scientific journal publishing. For example, in 2009, a hoax paper generated by a computer program was accepted for publication by a major publisher under the author-pays-for-publication model. [127] In a similar incident, a staff writer for Science magazine and popular science publications targeted the open access system in 2013 by submitting to some such journals a deeply flawed paper on the purported effect of a lichen constituent. About 60% of those journals, including journals published by the major academic publishers Sage Publications and Elsevier the Journal of Natural Pharmaceuticals, accepted the faked medical paper. However, journals published by notable open access publishers PLOS, BioMed Central, and Hindawi Publishing Corporation rejected the fake article. In addition, the faked paper was not published in subscription journals as a control. [128] As a result, this experiment was criticized for using a flawed methodology and not including a control group. [129] [130] Many newer open access journals also lack the reputation of their subscription counterparts, which have been in business for decades. This effect has been diminishing though since 2001, reflecting the emergence of high quality professional open access publishers such as PLOS and BioMed Central. [79]

Opponents of the open access model continue to assert that the pay-for-access model is necessary to ensure that the publishers are adequately compensated for their work. Scholarly journal publishers that support pay-for-access claim that the "gatekeeper" role they play, maintaining a scholarly reputation, arranging for peer review, and editing and indexing articles, require economic resources that are not supplied under an open access model. Opponents claim that open access is not necessary to ensure fair access for developing nations; differential pricing or financial aid from developed countries or institutions can make access to proprietary journals affordable. Some critics also point out the lack of funding for author fees. [131]

Databases and repositories

Multiple databases exist for open access articles, journals and datasets. These databases overlap, however each has different inclusion criteria, which typically include extensive vetting for journal publication practices, editorial boards and ethics statements. The main databases of open access articles and journals are DOAJ and PMC. In the case of DOAJ, only fully gold open access journals are included, whereas PMC also hosts articles from hybrid journals.

There are also a number of preprint servers which host articles that have not yet been reviewed as open access copies. [132] [133] These articles are subsequently submitted for peer review by both open access or subsbscription journals, however the preprint always remains openly accessible. A list of preprint servers is maintained at ResearchPreprints. [134]

For articles that are published in closed access journals, some authors will deposit a postprint copy in an open access repository, where it can be accessed for free. [135] [136] [137] [138] [139] Most subscription journals place restrictions on which version of the work may be shared and/or require an embargo period following the original date of publication. What is deposited can therefore vary, either a preprint or the peer-reviewed postprint, either the author's refereed and revised final draft or the publisher's version of record, either immediately deposited or after several years. [140] Repositories may be specific to an institution, a discipline (e.g.arXiv), a scholarly society (e.g. MLA's CORE Repository), or a funder (e.g. PMC). Although the practice was first formally proposed in 1994, [141] [142] self-archiving was already being practiced by some computer scientists in local FTP archives in the 1980s (later harvested by CiteSeer). [143] The SHERPA/RoMEO site maintains a list of the different publisher copyright and self-archiving policies [144] and the ROAR database hosts an index of the repositories themselves. [145] [146]

See also

Related Research Articles

Academic publishing is the subfield of publishing which distributes academic research and scholarship. Most academic work is published in academic journal article, book or thesis form. The part of academic written output that is not formally published but merely printed up or posted on the Internet is often called "grey literature". Most scientific and scholarly journals, and many academic and scholarly books, though not all, are based on some form of peer review or editorial refereeing to qualify texts for publication. Peer review quality and selectivity standards vary greatly from journal to journal, publisher to publisher, and field to field.

A hybrid open-access journal is a subscription journal in which some of the articles are open access. This status typically requires the payment of a publication fee to the publisher in order to publish an article open access, in addition to the continued payment of subscriptions to access all other content.

Delayed open-access journals are traditional subscription-based journals that provide free online access upon the expiry of an embargo period following the initial publication date.

An open-access mandate is a policy adopted by a research institution, research funder, or government which requires researchers—usually university faculty or research staff and/or research grant recipients—to make their published, peer-reviewed journal articles and conference papers open access (1) by self-archiving their final, peer-reviewed drafts in a freely accessible institutional repository or disciplinary repository or (2) by publishing them in an open-access journal or both.

Academic journal publishing reform is the advocacy for changes in the way academic journals are created and distributed in the age of the Internet and the advent of electronic publishing. Since the rise of the Internet, people have organized campaigns to change the relationships among and between academic authors, their traditional distributors and their readership. Most of the discussion has centered on taking advantage of benefits offered by the Internet's capacity for widespread distribution of reading material.

Predatory open-access publishing, or sometimes write-only publishing or deceptive publishing, is an exploitative open-access academic publishing business model that involves charging publication fees to authors without providing the editorial and publishing services associated with legitimate journals. The idea that they are "predatory" is based on the view that academics are tricked into publishing with them, though some authors may be aware that the journal is poor quality or even fraudulent. New scholars from developing countries are said to be especially at risk of being misled by predatory practices.

Jeffrey Beall American librarian

Jeffrey Beall is an American librarian, best known for drawing attention to "predatory open access publishing", a term he coined, and for creating what is now widely known as Beall's list, a list of potentially predatory open-access publishers. He is a critic of the open access publishing movement, and is especially known for his blog Scholarly Open Access. He has also written on this topic in The Charleston Advisor, in Nature, in Learned Publishing, and elsewhere.

An article processing charge (APC), also known as a publication fee, is a fee which is sometimes charged to authors to make a work available open access in either an open access journal or hybrid journal. This fee may be paid by the author, the author's institution, or their research funder. Some publishers waive the fee in cases of hardship or geographic location, but this is not a widespread practice. An article processing charge does not guarantee that the author retains copyright to the work, or that it will be made available under a Creative Commons license.

The following is a timeline of the international movement for open access to scholarly communication.

Open access in Germany research in and of Germany that is online and free to read and reuse

Open access to scholarly communication in Germany has evolved rapidly since the early 2000s. Publishers Beilstein-Institut, Copernicus Publications, De Gruyter, Knowledge Unlatched, Leibniz Institute for Psychology Information, ScienceOpen, Springer Nature, and Universitätsverlag Göttingen belong to the international Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association.

Open access in Belgium research in and of Belgium that is online and free to read and reuse

In Belgium, open access to scholarly communication accelerated after 2007 when the University of Liège adopted its first open-access mandate. The "Brussels Declaration" for open access was signed by officials in 2012.

Open access in France research in and of France that is online and free to read and reuse

In France, open access to scholarly communication is relatively robust and has strong public support., a digital platform for social science and humanities publications, launched in 1999. Hyper Articles en Ligne (HAL) began in 2001. The French National Center for Scientific Research participated in 2003 in the creation of the influential Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities. Publishers EDP Sciences and OpenEdition belong to the international Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association.

Open access in Spain research in and of Spain that is online and free to read and reuse

In Spain, the national 2011 "Ley de la Ciencia, la Tecnología y la Innovación" requires open access publishing for research that has been produced with public funding. The first peer-reviewed open access Spanish journal, Relieve, began in 1995. Publishers CSIC Press and Hipatia Press belong to the international Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association.

Open access scholarly communication of Norway can be searched via the Norwegian Open Research Archive (NORA). "A national repository consortium, BIBSYS Brage, operates shared electronic publishing system on behalf of 56 institutions." Cappelen Damm Akademisk, Nordic Open Access Scholarly Publishing, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, and Universitetsforlaget belong to the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association. Norwegian signatories to the international "Open Access 2020" campaign, launched in 2016, include CRIStin, Norsk institutt for bioøkonomi, Norwegian Institute of Palaeography and Historical Philology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, UiT The Arctic University of Tromsø, University of Bergen, University of Oslo, and Wikimedia Norge.

Open access to scholarly communication in Sweden is relatively widespread. In 2010 the Swedish Research Council began requiring its grantees to make research results available in open access form. Lund University Libraries and Stockholm University Press belong to the international Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association.

History of open access

The idea and practise of providing free online access to journal articles began at least a decade before the term "open access" was formally coined. Computer scientists had been self-archiving in anonymous ftp archives since the 1970s and physicists had been self-archiving in arxiv since the 1990s. The Subversive Proposal to generalize the practice was posted in 1994.

Open access (OA) has seen extensive growth in Australia since the first open access repository was launched in 2001. There are Open Access policies at the two major research funders: The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and Australian Research Council (ARC). Around half of Australian Universities have an OA policy or statement; most policies are for Green OA and OA has become a fundamental part of the scholarly publishing and research landscape in Australia. The Australasian Open Access Strategy Group (AOASG), the Council of Australia University Librarians (CAUL), and the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) are advocates for Open Access and related issues in Australia.


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Further reading