Open access: A quick factual post

Given the growing amount of nonsense being repeated in various ways about OA, here are four simple facts:

  1. 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.)
  2. A higher percentage of subscription journals charge article fees (under various names) than do gold OA journals.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.


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