Open Access is the practice in which published material, generally articles, are shared freely on the internet without restrictions. In the case of academic articles, open access (OA) stands in stark contrast from the traditional model of publishing, which requires readers/institutions to subscribe in order to gain access to an article.
In open access journals, the author usually pays an article processing change (APC) to cover the cost of publishing.
There are many variations of open access publishing models, including:
- Gold – articles in fully open journals, like PLOS One, in which all articles are published through article processing charges and the entire journal is open to everyone in the world
- Hybrid – authors can choose to pay an APC to make an article available to everyone around the world even though most of the other content in the journal is subscription only and even if the institution pays for a subscription to that journal
- Green – allows self-archiving of the article in a repository such as Duke's, though the published article is in a traditional journal that requires a subscription to access
What do Duke researchers say about Open Access?
In our 2020 survey of researchers at the Duke Schools of Medicine and Nursing who have published open access articles in the last 3 years, we found that the primary reasons for publishing open access have been:
- open access journals are often the most appropriate for a manuscript based on research topic, methodology, audience, and scope
- the author's personal commitment to open access values
- greater visibility and access
- greater potential impact
- faster publication time
Respondents to our survey also said:
- "we always chose open access because we are committed to stakeholder engagement and not all of our patient advocates and stakeholders (who often contribute as authors) have easy access to academic center libraries where they might be able to obtain a copy."
- "The PI for the study pushes to have all our work published open access because he feels it makes it available to everyone, makes it more likely to be read and cited, and helps build our reputation in the field to have it more widely read."
- "Patients should never have to pay to read an article."