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Open Access Myths

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Summary

This free white paper discusses five myths about open access publishing, from lack of authors’ rights to poor journal quality.

In today’s academic world, publishing your research is as important as ever. Luckily, the internet has made the dissemination of new research easier. A new publication posted online can be read by a worldwide audience, increasing its value for driving new research and scholarship.

Open access is widely known but still misunderstood. Download our white paper to get more information countering five common myths about open access:

  1. Open access journals are not peer reviewed
  2. Open access journals are of poorer quality than traditional, subscription-based journals
  3. Open access articles are not copyrighted
  4. Open access is just a passing fad
  5. Open access only helps readers, not authors

Myth #1: Open access journals are not peer-reviewed

While it is possible to find journals on the internet that do not use a peer review process, the vast majority of open access journals operate a peer review process that is identical to that used by traditional journals. The application of peer review is one of the selection criteria used by the Thomson Reuters Science Citation IndexTM (and SCI ExpandedTM) when evaluating journals for indexing. Thus, any open access journal that has received an impact factor uses a rigorous review process for submissions. The term “open access” only refers to the availability of published material.

Myth #2: Open access journals are of poorer quality than traditional subscription-based journals

Open access journals are sometimes thought to be a last resort for otherwise unpublishable material. However, many open access journals have established themselves as leaders in their fields, receiving high impact factors (IFs). For example, the 2012 Journal Citation Reports® from Thomson Reuters ranks PLOS Biology #1 in the subject area of biology (IF: 12.690), and PLOS Pathogens is ranked #2 in both parasitology and virology (IF: 8.136). Nucleic Acids Research, an Oxford University Press publication, chose to go to a completely open access model in 2005,2 yet the journal has seen its IF remain high (2005 IF: 7.552; 2012 IF: 8.278). Over 100 open access journals published by BioMed Central have now received IFs, and several are among the top 10% of journals in their subject categories. Journals such as PLOS ONE explicitly seek to publish any scientifically and ethically sound research, regardless of perceived novelty or broad appeal. Even with its broad scope, however, PLOS ONE is still cited frequently overall (2012 IF: 3.730). The IF is not the only way to assess a journal, but this commonly used metric still speaks to the success of many open access titles.

Download our free white paper today to read all five myths.

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About the Author: Ben Mudrak

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