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:
MYTH: Open Access means giving up all copyright to my work.
Open Access acknowledges U.S. Copyright law. In fact, traditional scholarly journals typically ask authors to sign an agreement that transfers all their copyrights to the publisher, so authors retain no rights to re-use or distribute their own work. Open Access journals allow authors to retain their rights.
See the link to SPARC's Author Rights at left.
MYTH: Open Access journals are not scholarly, are not peer-reviewed and will be looked down upon by my colleagues.
Most Open Access journals are peer-reviewed with the same or higher standards as traditional scholarly journals. In fact, your publications may have more of an impact because of the broader dissemination and increased access provided through open access.
MYTH: Open Access and Public Access are the same thing.
Public Access has become a requirement of certain funding agencies. The National Institutes of Health requires access to research that has been funded by its public monies. Access may be immediate or within a maximum embargo period.
Open Access, on the other hand, is a publishing policy that has been adopted by thousands of journals.
MYTH: Only libraries benefit from Open Access since costs shift to authors and funding bodies.
There is no question that the high cost of traditional scholarly journals has stressed library budgets, but Open Access is not a solution to a budget crisis. The Open Access publication model fosters increased access to research information and promotes new scholarship and discovery. Broader access to information without the limitation of subscription constraints benefits people in the United States as well as in developing countries.
Retain Your Rights as an Author
For traditional scholarly publishers, you typically give up your rights to copy and distribute your own work.
Unless you receive permission from the publisher, and depending upon a fair use judgment, you may no longer have the right to :
What can you do to retain your rights when having a worked published?
The first online-only, free-access (open access journals) began appearing in the late 1980s. The movement has evolved and now is well established.
Some examples of open access journals: