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Open Access: Characteristics and Benefits for the Academic Community: Mitos

What is said about Open Access

The concept of Open Access is relatively recent in the world of academic communication. For that reason, as happens with other novel ideas that produce a clash of opinions, many myths exist regarding this topic. In this section, we discuss some common myths about Open Access. Also, we include links to some writings by Peter Suber, a scholar who has written extensively on this topic.  

One of the works by Suber that we link to here is the book Open Access. We encourage you to read the first chapter of this book, titled "What Is Open Access?", to delve further into the topic covered in this section of the present guide.

Escritos de Peter Suber sobre Open Access

Peter Suber es una de las personas que más ha abogado a favor del acceso abierto. Aquí incluimos enlaces a algunos de sus trabajos.

Open Access

En este libro, Peter Suber explica a fondo el concepto de acceso abierto y expresa por qué este modelo de comunicación científica beneficia enormemente a la comunidad mundial de investigadores y a la sociedad en general. Puedes acceder al contenido pulsando la imagen.

Writings on Open Access

Colección de escritos de Peter Suber sobre el concepto de acceso abierto. La colección es una colaboración con el Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, de la Universidad de Harvard.

Some common myths

Open Access journals tend to be of low quality. 

There are Open Access journals in many fields that are respected and recognized for their quality. Furthermore, there are open access repositories that are a fundamental source of research literature for specific disciplines. Some examples are PubMed Central and arXiv. Many Open Access journals employ a robust peer review process to evaluate material before it is published.

To publish in an Open Access journal, authors must always pay publication fees. 

Many Open Access journals do not charge authors publication fees. In cases where they do, these fees are often covered by the same entities that provide funds for the research. Furthermore, it is not necessary for you to publish in an Open Access journal in order to make your article Open Access.  Even after publishing, many journals allow you to deposit the article in a repository that provides Open Access. 

If the publication agreement offered to me by a subscription journal does not give me permission to provide Open Access to the work, I have no option but to abide by those terms. 

You can incorporate an addendum to the publication agreement that allows you to provide Open Access to the work by depositing it in a repository or uploading it to your personal webpage. Nowadays this is relatively common in the negotiation process between authors and publishing companies.  Many publishers are now more receptive to allowing some kind of Open Access, even if they require an embargo period.  

If I want to publish in a high-impact subscription journal, I won’t be able to make the work Open Access. 

Contrary to what many think, publishing companies that produce high-impact subscription journals frequently give authors options for depositing copies of their work in Open Access repositories.

Publishing in Open Access venues represents a sacrifice made by academic authors. 

Open Access publishing has direct benefits for the authors. By increasing the audience that will have access to the work, there is a potential increase in its impact and the citations it can receive. This can benefit the author considerably in their academic career. Since authors of academic articles are not pursuing royalties, but instead are looking to maximize their impact, the Open Access option can lead to very positive results.   

Open Access is an effort to subvert the traditional academic publishing model. 

The main motivation behind Open Access initiatives is to create publishing models that bring greater benefit to researcher communities, who are the people that generate and consume scientific literature. With the emergence of the internet, Open Access publishing models have become more effective in achieving this goal. Today, because of the way electronic platforms have evolved, the services traditionally provided by publishing companies are no longer essential for widespread dissemination of information. Therefore, many publishers are modifying their practices, and even some of the most lucrative publishers now provide Open Access options.

Open access advocates fail to take into account that the process of publishing journals and distributing them costs money.

Open Access advocates are not unaware of these costs. However, they seek to generate publishing and distribution models that are cost-efficient without creating huge access gaps, given that the people most affected by these access gaps are the authors of scientific literature and the researchers who consume it.

Open Access leads to the author losing control over their work.

Traditional publishing agreements require authors to relinquish all rights over the published work. On the other hand, under an Open Access model, the author retains rights for the use and distribution of their works, and can publish and reuse them in different venues.

Open Access facilitates plagiarism.

Open Access models uphold the importance of proper attribution of authorship. Also, the fact that the works are online and freely accessible makes acts of plagiarism easier to detect.

Open Access violates copyright.

Open Access publishing models, like traditional publishing models, are compatible with copyright. The difference is that in traditional publishing models, the author often relinquishes all of their rights under copyright. In Open Access models, the author retains more rights over the use and dissemination of their work.