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Open Access: Introduction

An informative site about Open Access as a global initiative, about scholarly publishing reform, and about Open Access activities at and for the University of Florida.

In This Guide...

The purpose of this library guide is to help the University of Florida community to explore and understand new models of scholarly publishing. The guide provides information on the benefits of open access, how to locate open access resources, and the ways UF participates in the open access initiative. For information on copyright and other scholarly communication resources, please consult the resources linked in the box below.  If you have specific questions about open access, please contact Perry Collins, Scholarly Communications Librarian.

Related Library Guides

What is Open Access

Peter Suber (scholar, researcher, professor, and author) is the unofficial leader of the open access initiative. In his open access primer, he defines open access as: scholarly literature that is "digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions."  This means that the material is available without a subscription charge for anyone to read, download, copy, distribute, print, display and modify. A goal of open access is anyone with access to the Internet can find and use, to the fullest capacity, any open access publication.

During Open Access Week 2013, former Scholarly Communications Librarian Christine Fruin interviewed Peter Suber. The recording of the interview can be viewed here.

Open Access Myths and Truths

MYTH:  Open Access means giving up all my copyrights in my work.

TRUTH: Open Access works within the current U.S. copyright system. When publishing with traditional scholarly journals, authors typically sign an agreement that transfers all their copyrights to the publisher, retaining no rights for themselves to re-use or distribute their own work. However, with open access journals authors retain their rights to re-use their work in teaching and further scholarship.

Learn More: SPARC Author's Rights brochure; Go Open Access video

MYTH: Open Access journals are of low quality, are not peer reviewed and are the equivalent of self-publishing and thus will be looked down upon by my colleagues and peers.

TRUTH: Most open access journals are peer reviewed with the same or higher standards as traditional scholarly journals.  There have been studies showing an increase in impact by publishing in open access journals because of larger disseminiation and increased accessibility.

Learn More: Bibliography of articles/studies showing citation advantage through open access.

MYTH: Open Access is not a sustainable economic or business model of scholarly publishing.

TRUTH: Open Access publishers do not all operate using the same business model. There are several examples of open access journals operating successfully (e.g. PLoS, BioMed Central) and profitably without charging exorbitant subscription fees. Further, as a result of the success of these alternative business models, traditionally published journals are making changes to their structure by offering open access as an option and by shortening embargo periods. It is inevitable that all publishers will need to adjust existing economic models to one that is more in line with the principles of open access and the realities of internet access. All members of the scholarly community – authors, readers, publishers, librarians, and academic administrators – will need to collaborate to build the best models for scholarly publishing and access in the digital age.

Learn More: See John Willinsky's The Access Principle, Chapter 5 "Economics" - available for free download from MIT Press.

MYTH: Open Access and Public Access are the same thing.

TRUTH: Public Access is a requirement of funding agencies as a matter of federal law. The National Institutes of Health requires access to research that has been funded by it. The NIH policy allows for access immediately or within a maximum embargo period. Open Access, on the other hand, is a publishing policy that has been adopted by many journals.

Learn More: Visit the web site of the Alliance for Taxpayer Access to Research.

MYTH:  Only libraries benefit from Open Access because they are shifting the cost of subscriptions to the authors and funding bodies.

TRUTH: Library budgets are stressed, but librarians do not promote Open Access as a solution to a budget crisis. They promote Open Access as a new publication model that fosters increased access to research information and promotes new scholarship and discovery.Further, this increased access to information not only benefits persons in the United States but also persons in developing countries.

Learn More: See this briefing paper from the Open Access Scholarly Information Sourcebook for a discussion of how researchers, academic institutions, students, scholars, citizens AND libraries benefit from open access.

Compiled from: BioMed Central, Boston College Libraries, MIT Libraries, and UNC Health Sciences Libraries


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