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Hot Topics:

Open Access

What is NOT open access

While personal websites, RSS feeds, wikis, blogs, and discussion forums often offer free access to literature online, the OA movement is not generally referring to these forums when talking about open access.

Many traditional, subscription-based publishers produce "hybrid journals" which allow authors to pay an additional publication fee to make their articles immediately available to the public upon publication. It is important to note that "hybrid open access" differs from true open access because hybrid publishers often have restrictions on redistribution and reuse. Only a fully open-access article, has limited copyright restrictions allowing readers to read, download, copy and distribute the article freely.

Are open access journals peer reviewed? YES!

Most open-access journals practice the same rigorous peer-review processes as commercial scholarly journals. The journals published by Public Library of Science are among the most prestigious and respected in their fields. In 2005, PLoS Biology, an open-access journal, was assessed by Thomson ISI to have an impact factor of 13.9, making it one of the most highly cited journals in the life sciences. Noted and respected scholars sit on the editorial boards of open-access journals.

Myths about open access

Misleading statements about open access — many of them made by executives of commercial publishing firms or society publishers — are used to criticize open access. The argument that the general public would not understand peer reviewed medical literature, for instance, is not only elitist but is illogical given the amount of questionable medical information available on the web; patients have a right to view sound, peer reviewed research particularly if the research has been federally funded by taxpayers money. For more rebuttals to statements against open access, see (Mis)Leading Open Access Myths.

Resources

Open Access Overview and Open Access Newsletter
By Peter Suber, Professor of Philosophy at Earlham College. Through these and other sites, Professor Suber shares news and analysis of the open-access movement.

Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI)
Issued in 2002, the BOAI is committed to open-access journals and self-archiving in all academic fields. Other public statements on open access include the Bethesda Statement on open access publishing (2003) and the Berlin Declaration (2003).

eScholarship Publishing Initiatives
From the University of California, this initiative facilitates innovation and supports experimentation in the production and dissemination of scholarship.

Free Science Movement Gains a Foothold at Berkeley
Analysis in the Berkeleyan of the open-access movement featuring comments from Mike Eisen and other Berkeley faculty. Includes a sidebar on the 'serials crisis.' (See also Mike Eisen's editorial Publish and Be Praised in the Guardian Unlimited.)

Improving Access to Research Results: Six Points (PDF)
Clifford Lynch of the Coalition for Networked Information writes about the inevitability of open access and how best to get there.

Nature web focus: Access to the literature
A series of specially-commissioned essays from leading scientists, librarians, publishers, and other stakeholders.

Open Access
From SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition). Lists links and resources on open access.

Open Access Bibliography
Charles Bailey's extensive bibliography listing books, articles, conference papers and online sources covering all aspects of open access.

Open Access Now
An online newsletter launched by BioMed Central as a way to raise awareness about open access. Includes a list of responses to open access myths.

PR 'pit bull' takes on open access
As reported in Nature, a group of scientific publishers (including the American Chemical Society, Elsevier, and Wiley) have hired a public relations consultant to challenge the growing movement to make scientific information more available.

When is Open Access Not Open Access
An editorial in PLoS Biology by Catriona MacCallum.


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