The harm caused by myths about open access.

For a vivid sense of the harm caused by common misunderstandings of OA, read the comments in this survey carried out at the University of Saskatchewan in November 2012 and released this month.

It's depressing how many respondents who like the idea of OA in theory turn away from it in practice because they believe one of three particular falsehoods about it:

1. All OA is gold OA (through journals). 

The truth: Green OA (through repositories) is an alternative to gold OA, and even more plentiful than gold OA. There are several ways to arrange for permission to provide green OA even for work published at the very best peer-reviewed journals.

2. All or most peer-reviewed OA journals charge publication fees. 

The truth: Most (67%) charge no fees at all. In fact, the majority (75%) of non-OA journals charge author-side fees and only a minority of OA journals do so.

3. All or most fees at fee-based OA journals are paid by authors out of pocket.

The truth: Most fees (88%) at fee-based OA journals are paid by the authors' funder or employer. In fact 96% of authors who make their peer-reviewed articles OA pay no fee at all, because they make their work green OA rather than gold, because they publish in a no-fee OA journal, or because their fee at a fee-based journal was paid by their funder or employer.

For details and sources on my corrections to these misunderstandings, see "Open access: six myths to put to rest," The Guardian, October 21, 2013.

And more here:

* How often do authors at fee-based OA journals pay the fees out of pocket? Feb 1, 2013.

* Once more: correcting the canard that OA always or usually costs authors money, Feb 13, 2013.

* How to make your own work open access, originally Oct 2012 but frequently updated. 

#oa #openaccess #apcs #myths #misunderstandings
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