Open Access

Why Should Researchers Choose an Open Access Journal?

Open access truly expands shared knowledge across scientific fields — it is the best path for accelerating multi-disciplinary breakthroughs in research.

              — Open Letter to the US Congress signed by Nobel Prize winners

Wider Exposure and Increased Citation

Publishing in open access journals instead of in toll-access journals can help open up research to a wider audience by allowing readers free access and the right to redistribute published articles. Increasednumberofreadersresultsanincreasednumberof citations for the authors. Studies have shown a significant increase in citations when articles are made openly available.

Authors Retain Copyright

Copyright includes the bundle of rights authors have on their works. Transferring copyright to a publisher limits authors’ ability to disseminate the work. By retaining the copyright, authors can exercise all of their rights over their works. Copyright is one of the crucial issues a researcher needs to think about in publishing valuable research works.

Unlike traditional toll-access journals, open access journals do not acquire copyright of articles from authors, who retain full right on their articles. Some toll-access journals find this freely acquired copyright a mean of revenue generation for the lifetime of the journal. Research works, conducted by the researchers and sponsored in most cases from public fund, become a revenue (and profit as well for commercial publishers)generating tool for toll-access journals. In the open access channel, authors keep full copyright with them and provide the publishers to publish their articles under creative commons license.

Maximize Benefit of Valuable Research Works

Easy access to research works helps researchers of those fields across the world get benefitted and explore further on those issues. Therefore, the open access eventually maximizes the benefit of a research work, and such benefit is not restricted to people of a specific region.

Comply with Funding Criteria

More and more funding institutions of research projects are requiring that research outputs be made available on an open access basis. Publishing research works in an open access journal complies with such criterion of research grants.

Why Should Academic Institutions Promote Open Access Journals?

  • Supporting open access facilitates the process of advancing knowledge
  • Open access increases public visibility of the breadth of research done at the university.
  • Wider usage of open access can significantly reduce institutions expense for journal subscription, allowing more funds available for research projects
  • Open access provides all institutions full access to scholarly contents regardless of institution geographic location, size, ownership or budget.
  • Open access provides equal opportunity to all academic institutions that can enhance competitiveness among the institutions.
  • Open access helps Maximizing benefits of public funding in research projects.

Dissipate Open Access Myths

Myth 1: Publishing open access means an article is not copyrighted

False. Publishing open access does not mean the article is not copyrighted. In fact, publishing through an open access platform neither removes nor reduces authors’ right on their articles. Moreover, authors retain copyrights of their articles in open access publishing system that is usually not possible in traditional subscription based publishing system.

A widespread rumor about open access publishing is that articles are not copyrighted in open access channel, and therefore, authors’ right cannot be established on their works. The truth is that authors retain copyrights and allows the publishers to publish the articles under creative commons license. However, authors can transfer the copyright to other parties through written agreement.

Myth 2: Open access threatens scientific integrity due to a conflict of interest resulting from charging authors

False. In fact, lack of sincerity and managerial incapacity of an individual publisher, not the mode of publishing that threatens scientific integrity in scholarly publishing. Following is a more detailed response by BioMed Central for such objection.

This canard has been thoroughly debunked elsewhere. The assertion being made is, essentially, that open access publishers have an incentive to publish dubious material in order to increase their revenue from Article Processing Charges. This is a very peculiar accusation for a traditional publisher to make given that in the same evidence session, Elsevier's hefty annual subscription price increases was justified as follows:

On pricing, we have put our prices up over the last five years by between 6.2 per cent and 7.5 per cent a year, so between six and seven and a half percent has been the average price increase. During that period the number of new research articles we have published each year has increased by an average of three to five percent a year. [...] Against those kinds of increases we think that the price rises of six to seven and a half percent are justified."

Oral evidence to Inquiry, March1st2004, Crispin Davis (CEO, Reed Elsevier)

i.e. Elsevier's primary justification for increasing their subscription charges (and profits) is that each year they are publishing more articles. In which case, if their own argument is to be believed, they face the exactly the same conflict of interest as open access publishers.

Fortunately, however, no such conflict of interest exists, for either Open Access or traditional publishers. Any scientific journal's success depends on authors choosing to submit their research to it for publication. Authors publish research in order for the value of their findings to be recognized. The kudos granted by a solid publication record is crucial for scientific career progression. Authors submit their research to journals with a reputation for publishing good science. If a journal had a reputation for publishing poor science, it would not receive submissions. Thus the system is inherently self-correcting.

It should also be noted that many leading journals (both commercial and not-for-profit) already have page charges and colourfigure charges for authors, in order to defray expenses and to keep subscription costs down. Just two examples (of many hundreds) are the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA), and Genes & Development. So author charges are hardly an unprecedented experiment.

It is true that commercial publishers have tended in some cases to remove author charges, and to commensurately increase subscription fees,since this suits their commercial interests in maximizing profits. But it is clear that author charges pose no fundamental problem to effective peer review. []

Myth 3: Open Access articles and journals are not peer-reviewed

False. A journals access policy, whether open access or toll-accessed, does not determine its peer review policy. While most scholarly journals irrespective their access policy are peer-reviewed, there are both open and toll-accessed journals that are not peer-reviewed. Toll-access publishers are increasingly offering an option for open access publication for individual articles. This option does not affect the peer-review and other evaluation process for those articles.

Myth 4: Access is not a problem for university users.

Subscription based publishers claim that access is not a problem for researchers at universities; virtually all US/UK researchers have the access they need; what they can't get on campus or from a colleague elsewhere, the library can get for them via interlibrary loan.

Myth 5: Faculty can always use their own published content freely in courses they teach.

False. If copyright is transferred to the publisher at the time of publication that toll-access publishers usually ask for,the publisher may restrict authors’ right to re-use the content in teaching and publication.

Read more on debunking open access myths:

More open access resources

The Budapest Open Access Initiative

Composed at a 2001 Open Society Institute conference, this document is considered a definitive text of the OA movement. Read the full article.

Presentation on open access by SPARC

This presentation shows the emerging open access policy in the US.Read the presentation on SPARC webpage.

Videos about OA

Videos from the official Open Access Week website

Open Access resources by SPARC

Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC)'s explanation of open access. Visit for the resources.

Open Access Overview by Peter Suber

Peter Suber is a widely known name of the open access movement. Read Peter Suber’s article on open access.

Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)

The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) lists free, full text, quality controlled scientific and scholarly journals, covering all subjects and languages. Visit DOAJ webpage.

Understanding Open Access in the Academic Environment: A Guide for Authors

This guide aims to introduce academic authors to the principles, benefits, and implementation of open access. Read the full guide.

The Age of Open Access: New Paradigm for Universities and Researchers

This is a video of a panel discussion about challenges and opportunities for universities and researchers in the digital age. Watch the video here.