Will Open Access Destroy the Quality of Research? Debunking This and Other Myths About Open Access Journal Publishing

By Marissa Massare on Jun 21, 2021
While open access (OA) publishing is gaining traction in the publishing industry, there are many myths and misconceptions that are being shared within the academic community that can deter researchers from considering it as a possibility when submitting their work to scholarly journal publications.
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Common Myths and Misconceptions of OA
OA journals are not peer reviewed or the quality of peer review is not up to par with standard
subscription-based journals.
  • ➥  False – The majority of OA journals use some type of industry-recognized and approved peer review process. While some OA journals may boast a quicker review turnaround time, the integrity of the process is still strictly upheld and maintained to the same degree as that of a standard subscription-based journal. IGI Global’s OA journals operate under a double-blind peer review, the same process used for its Hybrid OA journals, which has been reviewed and approved by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).
OA is just a passing trend that will soon be phased out.
  • ➥  False – OA is an international initiative whose stakeholders include everyone from researchers and libraries to governments and funding agencies. With such initiatives as Plan S pushing for OA mandates, more and more OA journals and even books are launched and published monthly as publishers work to increase OA options for researchers. IGI Global converted more than 30 of its standard subscription-based journals to Gold OA in January 2021 and offers OA book and chapter publishing
    as well.
OA publishing can lead to increased plagiarism.
  • ➥  False – At present, there is no evidence that OA publishing leads to more plagiarism. Plagiarism can occur regardless of how the content is licensed. Many OA articles are published under a Creative Commons license. These licenses offer researchers varying degrees of restriction on actions such as reuse, redistribution, ability to alter content, etc. IGI Global’s OA journals and books offer authors the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licensing arrangement. Under this license the copyright for the work remains solely with the author(s) of the article manuscript and others may distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon the work, even commercially, so long as they credit the author for the original creation. All CC licenses require that the original author is attributed, meaning that any plagiaristic use is unacceptable.
OA is only beneficial for the users of the content, not the authors who are publishing their research.
  • ➥  False – OA does benefit the reader by providing a cost-free way of accessing published articles, but some of the greatest opportunities and benefits actually reside with the authors of the work. Because of the increased accessibility to the published work, OA articles receive high citation rates, often much higher than article manuscripts falling behind a paywall. The increased visibility of OA articles leads to greater citation impact. Authors of OA content thus receive wider recognition, increased networking opportunities, faster dissemination of their research (as it is published electronically immediately upon acceptance), and more.
OA journals are lower quality than standard subscription-based journals.
  • ➥  False – Some believe that OA journals are the last option for otherwise unpublishable material, and basically become a dumping ground for poor-quality or unvetted research. As mentioned previously, all article manuscripts submitted for consideration to OA journals undergo the same rigorous peer review and vetting process as standard subscription-based journals. There are thousands of OA journals published regularly with leading research in their fields. Also, with OA journals having openly accessible content it means that millions of researchers all over the world have access to it, and thus more experts are able to publicly weigh in and comment on the research results. If data is fabricated or the quality is poor, they are going to be some of the most vocal critics and sound the alarm if there is cause for concern.
OA journals are not eligible for inclusion in abstracting and indexing services.
  • ➥  False – The majority of abstracting and indexing services will consider OA journals, and in most cases the application process and criteria is the same for OA journals as it is for standard subscription-based journals. OA journals may in many cases have an even better chance of being accepted due to high citation rates.
OA journals are predatory because they engage in pay-to-play activities/ask researchers for payment to publish
their research.
  • ➥  False – While it is always best practice to ensure that any journal a researcher is publishing with does not engage in predatory behavior, it is important to point out that just because a journal publishes under an OA model with an associated APC fee it should not be assumed that it is predatory. Most OA journals require the payment of an Article Processing Charge (APC) unless there is a funding arrangement with the journal that allows for the APC to be waived. This fee covers all the costs of the actual publishing of an article which can include technologies that sustain the peer review process, typesetting and formatting work on the article, the hosting of the article in databases, etc. These are all services that would normally be recouped by the purchase of the article after it was published under a typical subscription-based model. Because the OA article is free upon publication, these services must be covered by the payment of an APC. The point at which an APC is requested is one of the main differentiating factors between a credible publishing model and a “pay-to-play” predatory publishing model. Credible OA journals will ask for the APC only AFTER an article manuscript has undergone a formal peer review process and been accepted at the discretion of the Editor-in-Chief of the journal. If the article manuscript is rejected there will be no APC requested. Moreover, the APC is paid to the publisher, not the Editor(s)-in-Chief or reviewers of the journal, thus eliminating room for bribes and/or biases. There is absolutely NO correlation between the APC being paid by the author and the results of review process outcomes. IGI Global stands against predatory behavior and it is important to note that for all OA journals published by IGI Global all OA APCs are collected only AFTER article manuscripts have undergone the full double-blind peer review process and been formally accepted for publication.

Though continuing to publish under the standard subscription-based publishing model may be easier and more agreeable for researchers, it is important to understand that OA publishing is a viable option that presents great opportunities for increased visibility and recognition. IGI Global encourages all researchers to learn more about publishing in OA books and journals by visiting the open access publishing page. For any other inquiries, please reach out to the Open Access Division of IGI Global at openaccessadmin@igi-global.com.

About IGI Global

Founded in 1988, IGI Global, an international academic publisher, is committed to producing the highest quality research (as an active full member of the Committee on Publication Ethics “COPE”) and ensuring the timely dissemination of innovative research findings through an expeditious and technologically advanced publishing process. Through their commitment to supporting the research community ahead of profitability, and taking a chance on virtually untapped topic coverage, IGI Global has been able to collaborate with over 150,000+ researchers from some of the most prominent research institutions around the world to publish the most emerging, peer-reviewed research across 350+ topics in 11 subject areas including business, computer science, education, engineering, social sciences, and more. Learn More About IGI Global >

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