While it is possible to find journals on the Internet that do not use a peer review process, the vast majority of open access journals operate a peer review process that is identical to that used by traditional journals. The application of peer review is one of the selection criteria used by the Science Citation Index (TM) when evaluating journals for indexing. Thus, any open access journal that has received an impact factor uses a rigorous review process for submissions. The term “open access” only refers to the availability of published material.
Ben Mudrak, CC-BY
You can submit and publish your article in any journal you like and still make it available open access in our research repository, ODU Digital Commons. You just need to plan for this in advance. You can send the article to Digital Commons at the same time that you submit it to the journal of your choice, giving ODU the right to make it available (subject to an embargo period if you like). (Text adapted from Boston College)
Most conventional publishers give standing permission for author-initiated green open access. Many of the others will give permission on request. For authors unsure of a publisher’s position, check out the Sherpa RoMEO database of publisher policies, read the publishing contract, or ask an editor. It’s always worth asking, if only to register demand and show rising expectations.
According to the comprehensive Study of Open Access Publishing (SOAP), when researchers publish in fee-based open access journals, the fees are paid by funders (59%) or by universities (24%). Only 12% of the time are they paid by authors out of pocket.
No. It’s true that preprints and postprints are made widely available on the internet, with or without the consent of the publisher of the final article. However, many authors are constrained by publisher policies from making all their research available, and disciplines vary in their support for making pre- or post- prints available. One 2006 paper co-authored by a leader in the OA movement, Stevan Harnad, estimates that only 15% overall of articles are being made available “through spontaneous self-archiving” into institutional repositories by their authors.
A recent study (pdf) by Ted Bergstrom, an economics professor at UC Santa Barbara, showed that of very recent economics articles published in 25 journals, 73% were available in a free version through a Google search. This is a significant percentage, but it still indicates that more than ¼ of the articles were excluded from access. Bergstrom concludes that the self-archived, freely accessible copies are very important since “many readers have no access to publisher-posted copies,” including “small universities, private sector, and third world countries.”
In the developing world, even though there are important initiatives to make research available at little or no cost (see for example HINARI and AGORA), access varies by publisher, discipline, and location. High priced subscriptions and exclusive/restrictive license agreements work to lock down access; these praiseworthy methods of extending access do not provide broad and complete access to research. (See also: recent commentary on HINARI in PLoS Medicine.)
Publishers are very used to dealing with these requests at this point. Far from being unusual, the retention of rights by authors is becoming a mainstream choice. Approximately 72% of academic journals allow some form or open access archiving without any use of an addendum to the contract. For a searchable database of publisher policies about copyright and archiving, explore the SHERPA/RoMEO site. (Text adapted from Boston College)