Given the growing amount of nonsense being repeated in various ways about OA, here are four simple facts:
- Most gold OA journals do not charge article processing fees (“author charges”) at all. Period. (Something like 70% of journals don’t, and those journals include a majority of gold OA articles.)
- A higher percentage of subscription journals charge article fees (under various names) than do gold OA journals.
- Subscription publishers have in quite a few cases been guilty of practices that could be considered predatory (republishing articles, creating multiple journals in a very short time, etc., etc.)–but it would be as unfair to generalize subscription journals as predatory as it is to assume that most OA publishers are predatory.
- You can simultaneously believe that some critics of OA go far overboard in overgeneralizing their criticisms–and that suing a critic for criticism, in the absence of blatant factual error, is both wrong and a pretty good sign that something’s amiss with the publisher. (Call this “a curse on both your houses” if you wish.)
For more information, I refer you to Open Access: What You Need to Know Now (ALA Editions, 2011), also to three recent Cites & Insights issues (January 2013, February 2013, June 2013)–and, if you’re a glutton for punishment, Open Access and Libraries (free PDF, $17.50 paperback), a compilation of earlier OA-related essays.