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Open Access

Learn more about open access, open data, and open educational resources.

No more myths, here's the truth!

Myth: Faculty can freely use their own published content in courses they teach.

Fact: This is often not true. If you transferred your copyright to the publisher at the time of publication, as most authors do, the publisher may restrict your right to re-use the content in teaching and publication.


  • Publish in an Open Access publication so that everyone immediately and always has free access to your work
  • Publish in a journal that allows you to retain the rights you need to re-use your own work in teaching and publication
  • Negotiate the specific rights that you need at the time of publication.


Myth: Articles in Open Access journals are not peer-reviewed, are of lower quality, and are the equivalent of self-publication.

Fact:Scholarly Open Access journals follow peer-review procedures similar to other scholarly journals.


  • Judge the quality of Open Access journals and articles the same way you would any other, by reading the content.
  • Consider the impact of  Open Access articles' demonstrated increased usage when you choose where to publish.


  • Open Access Citation Advantage: An Annotated Bibliography
  • This annotated bibliography lists studies and review articles that examine whether open access (OA) articles receive more citations than equivalent subscription; i.e., toll access (TA) articles. Wagner,Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship, Winter 2010.
  • PLoS Article Level Metrics
    Article-Level Metrics, a program started by PLoS in March 2009...puts relevant performance data on articles including online usage, citations, social bookmarks, notes, comments, ratings and blog coverage.

MythOpen Access is just a way for libraries to save money by shifting the cost of scholarly publications to authors and funding agencies.

Fact: The price to purchase scholarly publications increased well beyond inflation for more than a decade. Library budgets are stressed, but librarians do not promote Open Access as a solution to a budget crisis. They promote Open Access as a new publication model that fosters increased access to research information. 


  • Support other models that increase access to scholarly publications such as institutional and subject repositories.
  • Provide increased institutional funding to support and explore the impact of Open Access publishing.


Myth: Open Access and Public Access accomplish the same goal by making information freely available.

Fact: Only Open Access makes information freely available at the time of publication. Public Access, as implemented through PubMed Central and mandated by the NIH Public Access Policy, allows publishers to prevent open access to articles for up to one year.


  • Publish in Open Access journals to provide immediate free access to your work for everyone.


  • Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR)
    FASTR will accelerate science, fuel innovation, and improve the lives and welfare of Americans and those around the world. This is an achievable goal – today. Now is the time to push for this groundbreaking legislation, and let Congress know that the public deserves access to the research that they paid for.

Myth: Open Access does not work as an economic / business model for scholarly publishing.

Fact: Open Access does seem to be working as a business model for a number of important science-technical-medical journal publishers, for example, BioMed Central, Hindawi and PLoS. It is important to remember that Open Access journals do not have a single business model, for example they do not all charge author fees.


  • More professional association and society publishers should study the options and impacts of moving their journals to an Open Access model.



This work is a derivative of "Debunking Myths - Open Access"
created by the University of Michigan, used under CC BY.

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Jenny Hart
Mathematics, Statistics, Computer Science and Physics Librarian
Crerar Library
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