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Scholarly Publishing: Open Access

Open Access Publishing

open access logoOpen access holds the promise of making scholarly articles freely available to everyone, regardless of affiliation, on the internet. Digital access is free to users with the cost being borne by authors, their sponsors, the society, or the library, while peer review and proper attribution of authorship are unchanged. A variety of income models income models are currently in use to support open-access journals. Recently, a few institutions have signed a compact to cover costs when authors lack other funding.

Alternative Publishing Models

In traditional commercial publishing, the library pays for subscriptions (print or electronic) and authorized users have free access. The advent of web-based publishing, combined with dissatisfaction with the existing scholarly publishing system, has led to the development of several alternative publishing models.

This chart of the characteristics of scholarly publishing options offers a succinct overview of the options. All of these models have variations within the model. Some commercial publishers have begun to allow author archiving or deposit in repositories after a period of time (called an “embargo").

Emerging Models

Although open access publishing and institutional and subject-based repositories are the most well-known types of alternative publishing, there are other emerging models that may point toward the future.

PLoS HUB - Clinical Trials
The PLoS Hub for Clinical Trials collects PLoS journal articles that relate to clinical trials. The Hub is a site for researchers to share their views and build a dynamic, interactive community. The PLoS Hub for Clinical Trials features articles originally published in PLoS Clinical Trials, along with articles from all the PLoS titles that publish clinical trials. In the future, it will also feature open-access articles from other journals plus user-generated content.

The nanoHUB is a rich, web-based resource for research, education and collaboration in nanotechnology. It hosts over 1600 resources, including online presentations, courses, learning modules, podcasts, animations, and teaching materials. It also offers web-accessible simulation tools which simulate nanotechnology devices. The nanoHUB also provides collaboration environment via workspaces, online meetings and user groups.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 
The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy is a scholarly dynamic reference work, with each entry is maintained and kept up to date by an expert or group of experts in the field. The project is funded entirely by donations and grants.

Vectors, journal of culture and technology in a dynamic vernacular
Utilizing a peer-reviewed format and under the guidance of an international board, Vectors features submissions and specially-commissioned works comprised of moving- and still-images; voice, music, and sound; computational and interactive structures; social software; and much more. They publish only works that need, for whatever reason, to exist in multimedia.

Where You Publish Makes a Difference

Your choice of where to publish may make a difference in how often your article is read or cited. By understanding the options available through open access publishing, you can make it easier for your colleagues to read and make use of your work.

Will I Be Cited?

Several studies indicate that articles that are freely available have as much or even more research impact as other articles.

OpCit Project: The effect of open access and downloads ('hits') on citation impact: a bibliography of studies

The Impact of Open Access Journals: A Citation Study from Thomson ISI 
A 2004 study shows that open access peer-reviewed journals have impact factors and citation rates equal to traditional peer-reviewed journals.

Names and Organizations You May Encounter

BioMed Central
BioMed Central is an independent publishing house committed to providing immediate free access to peer-reviewed biomedical research. 

BioOne is an innovative collaboration between scientific societies, libraries, universities and the private sector. BioOne provides access to full-text high-impact bioscience research journals, the majority of which are published by small societies and non-commercial publishers, and, until now, have been available only in printed form.

Public Library of Science (PLoS)
PLoS is a nonprofit organization of scientists and physicians committed to making the world's scientific and medical literature a public resource. 

SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition)
SPARC is an international alliance of academic and research libraries working to correct imbalances in the scholarly publishing system. Its pragmatic focus is to stimulate the emergence of new scholarly publishing models that expand the dissemination of scholarly research and reduce financial pressures on libraries