Common Questions and Misunderstandings

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Common Questions and Misunderstandings

Open Access, while a movement that is growing rapidly in academia, is nonetheless complex and novel to many. For example, there are many types of open access and ways it is reflected in the practices of individual authors as well as publishers and funding agencies. This document attempts to address several common misconceptions.

Do I always give my copyrights to the publisher? Must I?

In many cases publishers do require the transfer of all copyrights that the author has in a work but grant some limited rights back. Most publishers do NOT need all of the rights to a work. Open Access journals (scholarly, peer reviewed journals that do not charge the reader subscriptions), generally do not require the author to transfer copyright at all. Authors should be aware of what rights they are retaining and what rights they want to retain in order to share their work more broadly after publication.

If I want to try Open Access I can't publish in the best journals in my discipline.

One can often make a copy of their work open access and still publish wherever is the best venue for their scholarship. Open Access journals are just getting started, and if they are a good fit, wonderful. If not, publish in the right journals and then READ THE PUBLICATION AGREEMENT carefully. Authors can revise the contract with the publisher to be sure it allows them to share an Open Access copy of the article if they want. We can help authors with all of this. Contact Marcy Wilhelm-South or Donna Ferullo with any additional questions questions.

Open Access journals are not peer reviewed and/or undermine peer review.

Open Access journals are by definition scholarly peer reviewed journals, whose model of access is “open” as opposed to “closed” or “subscription-only” journals. Such journals only differ in their economic and funding models.

Why should I have to pay for Open Access? (On hybrid-OA and OA fees)

Not all open access requires payment, and not all open access costs are the same. Be aware-if the journal is a subscription-only journal, they *most likely* offer a "hybrid open access" option-for a large fee (often $2000-$3000) one article can be "open" in an otherwise closed journal. There is NO reason to do this most of the time. Careful review of the publication agreement will reveal that publishers often allow the author to make an open copy of the published article (the accepted manuscript after peer review). Some fully open access journals (PLoS, BMC) do have a required fee, but in most cases it takes the place of the traditional "page charges" and the fees are lower, and they do not receive subscription money as well.

Some universities now have Open Access Author Funds, to help authors pay open access charges in non-hybrid (fully open access) journals. Purdue does not yet have such a fund, but will investigate if faculty express sufficient interest. Please contact David Scherer if you or your department chair would like to learn more.

Will Open Access mean the demise of the Society Journals?

Many society journals have been struggling economically. Although few are yet ready to sponsor fully Open Access journals (making their content free to readers and finding alternative funding sources), they and their authors are noting the advantages that Open Access brings: more readers to their sites, whether the author is simply given permission via the publication agreement to share a copy openly, or the publisher chooses to make back-files openly available. More readers means more and potentially better submissions, as well as potentially better impact factors. Business models and funding will change in the next 10–15 years but the need for high quality scholarly journals that the world can access will continue. If you are an editor of a journal looking for alternative options for access to your journal, please contact Peter Froehlich, Director of the Purdue University Press and Head of the Libraries Scholarly Publishing Services unit.

I am busy ... I don't have time for Open Access

The Purdue libraries can make pursuing Open Access and easy and efficient process for authors. Several services are offered by the Purdue Libraries to confirm that an author can share a copy of their work and can deposit the work in Purdue e-Pubs. They can also assist you in understanding your publisher agreements before you sign them, simplifying the process once the article is published. Please contact Marcy Wilhelm-South with any further questions.

What are the benefits of Open Access at Purdue to me?

There are several benefits to authors through Open Access. Authors with works in the open access institutional repository, Purdue e-Pubs, will receive a monthly download statistics email, as well as many other benefits. To learn more about these benefits and Purdue e-Pubs then visit the OA Benefits Page.