Overview Edit

The open access movement is said to have begun in 1966.[1] The term describes a variety of activities that includes access to archives of indexed citations of articles, access to separate journal articles that were published in traditional, subscriber-pays journals, and access to free, online journals.[2]

In traditional, subscriber-pays publishing, the publisher, who holds the copyright to an article, pays most printing and distribution costs and, in order to read an article, the journal subscriber pays fees, whether for hard-copy or online versions. Sometimes an author is required to pay printing page charges for complex graphics or color presentations.

"Open access" publishing generally means that the author or publisher, whoever holds the copyright to an article, grants all users unlimited, free access to, and license to copy and distribute, a work published in an open access journal (which may be published initially electronically or in hard-copy). Users can also make copies for their personal use, if authorship is properly attributed.[3] Open access publishing often requires an author to pay for publishing or posting of a paper. Estimates of fees charged vary, but generally range from about $500 to $4,000. These charges may be paid by individual authors, or by institutions, pursuant to institutional subscription contracts with open access journals that cover publication charges for all authors affiliated with an institution. Typically, open access publishers require that a complete version of the work and related materials be deposited electronically in an online database that permits open access, distribution, interoperability (allowing users to extract and use the data in other research), and long-term archiving.[4]

In "free access" publishing neither an author nor a reader pays for articles to be published or posted on the Internet,[5] but other open access features may not be mandatory.

A few commercial publishers have adopted some open access features in their business models. However, the fundamental difference is that traditional publishers generally require readers to pay to read or print an article, or to search indexes of abstracts or citations. Open access publishers generally do not require readers to pay for these services. Some traditional publishers say they already provide open access in that they may make papers freely available online — but this is usually a year or two after publication. The publishers still hold copyright, and they may or may not allow the author to post his or her published articles in an open access repository or database, or on the author’s own website.

The scope of open access repositories or archives varies. Some contain published journal articles or non published "grey literature" in all fields of science or in specific scientific disciplines. Some archive a specific university's researchers' preprints, articles, or research reports; or, as in the case of the National Institutes of Health model, articles, data, or other materials funded by an agency, but prepared for publication by traditional publishers. Some open access repositories archive only citations for articles or other materials; some archive both citations and full text materials; some allow free downloading and some do not.

Major issues relating to open access publishing Edit

Controversies arise because developments in open access systems and policies seem to have outpaced society’s ability to design equitable and efficient mechanisms and economic reward structures to manage transitions between traditional and open access publishing and archiving.[6]

Major arguments[7] made by supporters of open access publishing (largely scientists, librarians, and some non-profit publishers) are that it rides the new wave of inevitable changes in publishing and electronic dissemination of information due to development of the Internet,[8] hastens scientific progress, gives access to more readers, promotes economic development, and, in the case of federally funded research, provides citizens with ready access to the results of research and development that their taxes funded.

Opponents of open access publishing (primarily traditional publishers and major scientific associations) cite such issues as the doubtful permanence of electronic archives, questions of copyright ownership and reductions to traditional publishers' profits, costs to researchers who have to pay to have their manuscripts published in open access journals, the possibly dubious quality of articles published, questions about peer review processing and quality, perceptions of the academic community and the academic reward system which appear to give more status to articles published in traditional, subscriber-pays journals, and so forth.[9]

Copyright issues Edit

Supporters of traditional, subscriber-pays publishing argue that publishers, as copyright holders, need [copyright]] protection in order to market journals and sell reprints which support the costs of publishing and archiving both hard-copy and electronic materials. Some also say that copyright ownership is required to guarantee a researcher's accuracy and the authenticity of authorship of an article. In open access publishing, the author of the article retains copyright ownership, but access to the article normally remains free to readers.

References Edit

  1. With the inception of Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC), launched by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Research and Improvement and the National Library of Education. This database contains bibliographic citations for privately published journal articles and allows retrieval of the text of other non-published materials. Medline, a bibliographic system, was launched by the National Library of Medicine in 1966 (but was not free until 1997). See Peter Suber, "Timeline of the Open Access Movement" (Dec. 10, 2007) (full-text). This is an extensive history since 1966, with links to different systems and databases.
  2. See, e.g., Martin Frank, Margaret Reich & Alice Ra'anan, "A Not-For-Profit Publisher's Perspective on Open Access," 30 Serials Rev., No. 4 (2004); "Budapest Open Access Initiative" (full-text). See also Peter Suber, "What You Can Do to Promote Open Access" (Apr. 16, 2007) ([1]); "Budapest Open Access Initiative: Frequently Asked Questions" (full-text).
  3. This is a variation of "Creative Commons" copyright licenses free for public use.[2].
  4. Based on “Definition of Open Access,” which uses a modified version of the “Bethesda Meeting on Open Access.”[3]. See "Open-Access Publication of Medical and Scientific Research," a Public Library of Science Background Paper (Dec. 12, 2003).
  5. Joanne S. Hawana, "Multiple Publishing Models Critical To Advancing Science, Journal Publishing Societies Argue," Washington Fax (Mar. 17, 2004).
  6. See, e.g., Open Access and the Public Domain in Digital Data an Information for Science, Proceedings of an International Symposium (Julie M. Esanau & Paul F. Uhlir, eds. 2004).
  7. See Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Working Party on the Information Economy, Digital Broadband Content: Scientific Publishing, DSTI/ICCP/IE(2004)11/FINAL (Sept. 2, 2005).
  8. David Stern, "Archival Issues Regarding Electronic Scientific Literature," Presentation at session on "The Future of Scientific Communication (Formerly Known as Publishing)," American Ass'n for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Meeting (Apr. 21, 2005).
  9. According to one author, barriers to open access publishing include legal framework issues; differences in IT-infrastructure and technologies; business models and costs; indexing services and standards of materials placed in open-access archives; the academic reward system; and marketing and critical mass issues. The importance of each type of barrier varies with the type of open access repositories, whether open-access journal, subject-specific repositories maintained by disciplinary groups; or institutional repositories, maintained by academic institutions. The author provides a matrix and specific details for each of the 18 cells in his analysis in Bo-Christer Bjork, "Open Access to Scientific Publications — An Analysis of the Barriers to Change?", Info. Res. (Jan. 2004).

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