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Open Access

Myths and Truths about Open Access

There are many misconceptions about Open Access. Below are a few common myths about Open Access, all of which have been debunked.

The Quality of Open Access

Myth: Open Access journals are not peer-reviewed and do not have as high a quality as traditional journals

Truth: The majority of Open Access journals follow the same peer review process as most traditional journals. Many indexes, such as the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) only index "high-quality, peer reviewed Open Access" journals. 

While it is true that some subpar journals market themselves as Open Access, many Open Access Journals are reputable and impactful. In fact, most traditional publishers have incorporated an Open Access option into their publishing models.  

The Cost of Open Access

Myth: All Open Access Journals charge author fees in order to support making the content Open Access

Truth: 67% of peer-reviewed Open Access journals do not charge an Article Processing Fee (Morrison, Salhab, Calvé-Genest, & Horava, 2015). When authors are publishing with a journal that does charge fees, only 12% of authors pay for the fees themselves (Dallmeier-Tiessen et al., 2011).

Publishing Open Access

Myth: My preferred journal does not provide an Open Access option, so I cannot publish Open Access

Truth: You do not need to publish with an Open Access journal to make your work available Open Access. Many publishers allow authors to share a version of their work (either a pre-print or a post-print) on their personal website or on a repository. 

Publishers are also becoming accustomed to authors requesting an addendum to a publishing agreement, which signs back specific rights back to the original author.

Open Access and Open Educational Resources

Myth: Open Access and Open Educational Resources are the same.

Truth: Open Access typically refers to scholarly material, whereas Open Educational Resources (OER) refers to teaching materials. Open Educational Resources by definition are available under an open license that allows for reuse, adaptation, and redistribution. Open Access, on the other hand, might mean only available online free of charge (also known as Gratis Open Access). In some cases Open Access includes permission to reuse, which can sometimes make it compatible with OER.

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