Benefits of publishing your work open access: debunking myths
By: Tarryn Greenberg, Senior Publisher, Open Access, Health Learning, Research & Practice, Wolters Kluwer
As an author, are you interested in whether or not to publish your research in an open access (OA) journal? OA publishing has come under a lot of scrutiny recently in the scholarly community with the ever-increasing growth in the number of predatory publishers (Beall’s List1 now includes 1,085 predatory publishers) and the concern over the quality of OA publications. Like most things in life, OA has its supporters and detractors. This article will debunk some of the myths surrounding OA and provide you with some benefits of publishing your research under an OA model.
But first, below are some tips to avoid being caught by predatory publishers claiming to publish OA articles.
Before choosing a journal to submit your work to, check to see if your journal of choice is included in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), which is a community-curated online directory that indexes and provides access to high-quality, OA, peer reviewed journals. In addition, there are a number of other important questions authors need to consider before submitting a manuscript. Here is a brief list of helpful questions to get you started:2-4
First, if the journal is a reputable journal publishing OA articles, the answers to these four questions should be “yes”:
- Is the journal publisher a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics?
- Is the journal indexed by genuine indexes such as Ulrich’s Web, DOAJ, Scopus or Web of Science? (Note: Newly launched journals by reputable publishers will take time to get indexed in a scholarly database or directory, so be sure to check for additional red flags should this be a concern.)
- Is there a statement regarding the peer review process or that the journal charges an article-processing charge (APC) for OA manuscripts?
- Does the journal offer value-added services such as reference linking or the proper archiving of previously published papers?
Next, ask the following six questions. An answer of “yes” to any of these questions should be enough of a red flag to stop and raise concerns about the journal and its practices:
- Are there grammatical errors on the journal’s website and emails?
- Is the Editorial Board either non-existent, or is the same person named as editor of multiple journals published by the same publisher?
- Is the journal name very broad to attract more content?
- Is the “home office” located in a small, old storefront or listed as a post office number? Or does the name of the journal not reflect its origin (or does not reveal its location)?
- Are any of the names/institutions of the journal board members fictitious, or could they be on the board without their permission?
- Does the publishing opportunity sound too good to be true? For example, is immediate publication promised along with a very high acceptance rate being evident? (If so, it probably is too good to be true!)
Should you decide to submit your work to a journal published by Wolters Kluwer Open Health (WKOH), under either a gold or hybrid model of OA, you can look forward to the following benefits:5,6
1. Widest possible dissemination of your work
OA is the free, immediate, online access for any user, web‐wide, to digital scientific and scholarly material, primarily research articles published in peer‐reviewed journals. OA content is free permanently on all online locations and allows users to link, read, download, store, use and data-mine the digital content of that article without copyright or licensing restrictions. This means that researchers all over the world will be able to read your research without having to have a paid subscription to the journal. The OA licenses (the Creative Commons licenses7) set some restrictions on commercial and derivative uses of OA content. There is evidence to suggest that OA papers receive more citations than non-OA papers8.
2. High standard of production and rigorous peer review
You will receive the same level of high-quality editorial services and support that WKOH offers for all the journals they publish. The peer review and production processes are the same for the OA articles in the gold/hybrid model as they are for those articles published and accessible by subscription or pay-per-view papers published by Wolters Kluwer. All articles will undergo the journal’s standard independent peer review process. For hybrid journals, authors are given the option to make an article OA only after the article has been returned for revisions, or accepted.
3. You retain copyright, licensed under Creative Commons
Authors retain copyright of their work and publish their article using a Creative Commons license. There are several Creative Commons licenses, but each allows authors and readers download, share and reuse from the time of publication. Some licenses limit reuse to nothing commercial or without derivatives and other licenses are less restrictive. Most articles require an APC for the costs associated with submission, peer review, production, publication and promotion, which can be paid by the author, funder, institution, or sponsor upon acceptance.
4. Compliance with OA mandates
Wolters Kluwer’s OA program (both gold and hybrid) provides authors with a means to comply with OA mandates and meet applicable license requirements. OA articles will be made available under the terms of the Creative Commons license and the final version of the article will be deposited to PubMed Central on publication. All authors who choose to publish their paper OA will have their final published article deposited into PubMed Central on their behalf by Wolters Kluwer.
5. Promotion and publicity of quality research
WKOH offers the global distribution of freely available, quality OA research on their innovative journals platform. Articles published in WKOH journals are promoted through free email newsletters, content alerts, homepage and subject page features, and special promotions.
6. Rapid publication
Our suggested turnaround time goals for WKOH’s OA journals are 21 days from submission to first decision and 35 business days from acceptance to publication. Considering all the benefits mentioned above, OA is a great way of publishing your research, giving you and your work the most exposure and visibility. Below is a list of the most important websites should you want to learn more about what OA can offer you.
Creative Commons: a nonprofit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools
Directory of OA Repositories: an authoritative directory of academic OA repositories
Directory of Open Access Journals: an online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, OA, peer reviewed journals
Horizon 2020: the EU framework program for research and innovation
National Institute of Health (NIH) Policy Details: frequently asked questions about the NIH Public Access Policy
Open Access Directory: a compendium of simple factual lists about OA to science and scholarship, maintained by the OA community at large
OSTP Memo: the U.S. government plans to make the results of federally funded research freely available to the public—generally within one year of publication
Research Councils UK (RCUK): review of the implementation of RCUK Policy on OA (PDF)
Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC): an international alliance of academic and research libraries working to create a more open system of scholarly communication
SHERPA/JULIET: research funders’ OA policies
The Registry of Open Access Repository Mandates and Policies (ROARMAP): a searchable international registry charting the growth of OA mandates and policies adopted by universities, research institutions and research funders
Glossary of key OA terms
Article Processing Charge (APC): This is a payment that allows the article to be freely available online in perpetuity. The costs cover peer‐review, copyediting, hosting, and promotion of the article. An APC can be paid for by the funder, author, institution, or a sponsor. Additional page and color charges apply on some hybrid journals. The article processing charges vary for different titles for a variety of factors such as the size of the journal, volume of submissions, etc.
Free access: “Free” is generic for any content at no cost, like a website, YouTube videos, free abstracts, or articles that are made free for promotion. Though the content is free to read, reuse and sharing is limited by standard copyright and licensing restrictions that applies to all non-open access content. OA content is free permanently on all online locations and allows users to link, read, download, store, use, and data-mine the digital content of that article without copyright or licensing restrictions. OA licenses (the Creative Commons licenses detailed above) set some restrictions on commercial and derivative uses of open access content.
Gold OA: Following the payment of an APC, articles are made OA immediately upon publication and the author retains copyright. This can occur in both fully OA journals as well as subscription (or “hybrid”) journals.
Hybrid model: The hybrid model of OA is when a journal has a combination of OA and subscription articles. Authors have a choice to pay a fee for the article to be immediately accessible online. The author retains copyright of the article. OA articles are subject to the same peer review process as any article within that journal.
Open access: The free, immediate, online access, for any user, web‐wide, to digital scientific and scholarly material, primarily research articles coupled with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment and published in peer‐reviewed journals.
- Beall’s List of Predatory Publishers: https://scholarlyoa.com/publishers/, updated on 24th August 2016, accessed on 25th August 2016.
- Beall, J. (2012). Criteria for determining predatory open access publishers (2nd ed.).
- Masten YB, Ashcraft AS. The Dark Side of Dissemination: Traditional and Open Access Versus Predatory Journals. Nursing Education Perspectives. 2016; 37(5): 275-277.
- The University of Queensland, UQ Library. Getting Published: Journal Articles: Get started: http://guides.library.uq.edu.au/getting-published, accessed 2 September 2016.
- Wolters Kluwer Open Health FAQs: https://www.wolterskluwer.com/en/solutions/lippincott-journals/lippincott-open-access/faq, accessed 25th August 2016.
- Bindon SL. Open Access: Opportunity and Awareness. Journal for Nurses in Professional Development, July/Aug issue, pp189-190 (2015).
- Creative Commons Licensing Types: https://creativecommons.org/share-your-work/licensing-types-examples/, accessed 25th August 2016
- Fang Z, Wang X, Liu C, Mao W. The open access advantage considering citation, article usage and social media attention. Scientometrics, 103(2), pp 555–564 (2015).