5 myths about Open Access debunked


Written by Coen van Laer

Open Access is widely known but it is still held back by misunderstandings. This is sufficient reason to respond to some of the most frequently raised concerns. You may benefit from some information countering five common myths about Open Access.

#1 Open Access journals are not peer reviewed
The vast majority of Open Access journals operate a peer review process that is identical to that used by traditional journals. Any Open Access journal that has received an impact factor uses a rigorous review process for submissions.

#2 Open Access journals are of poorer quality than subscription-based journals
Open Access journals are sometimes thought to be a last resort for otherwise unpublishable material. However, many Open Access journals have established themselves as leaders in their fields. The impact factor is not the only way to assess a journal, but this commonly used metric still speaks to the success of many Open Access titles.

#3 Open Access articles are not copyrighted
Some researchers fear that publishing an Open Access article means that the material is not protected by any form of copyright, but this is not true. In fact, Open Access frequently allows authors to retain the copyright to their material instead of handing over the rights to the journal. In some cases, authors publishing in traditional journals may require permission to reuse their own figures or text when teaching a class. Open Access material has no such restrictions.

#4 Open Access is just a passing fad
Some researchers may consider Open Access journals to be ‘trendy’ but likely to fail in the face of traditional publishing. Recent data regarding Open Access, however, argue otherwise. Furthermore, mandates requiring that research be made freely available to the public have been issued by funding agencies.

#5 Open Access only helps readers, not authors
Even authors who recognise that Open Access journals are legitimate avenues for reporting research can harbour the misconception that Open Access is solely an altruistic endeavour. Certainly, Open Access is beneficial to readers because it provides a cost-free means of viewing published articles. In this way, Open Access provides a greater return on expenditures for research. In addition, Open Access benefits authors. The increased visibility for a published article often leads to increased citation frequency, which benefits every researcher.

Originally published on the Maastricht University Online Library website.

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