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Open Access at Washington University

Information about open access publishing options and issues

Issues in Choosing an OA Journal: Impact

Goals for scholarly publishing may include:
- Distribution of results; reaching colleagues
- Professional goals, such as, tenure, success in external funding, etc.

Issues in Choosing an OA Journal: Economics

The economics of journal publishing is changing and varies from publisher to publisher.  Most OA publishing is supported by author fees. Fees are sometimes waived or reduced depending on the circumstances of the authors. Fees range from about $3,000/article to no charge at all. Often author fees can be paid from grant funds, if you choose to spend your funding that way.

Even with very high author fees, it has been argued that the total cost for access is lower than the traditional economic publishing model.  Discussions about the economics of scholarly publishing may speculate on the ability of traditional, subscription-model journals to survive.  Since these are often the top ranked journals in a field, OA is seen as a threat to a model that has developed over centuries.

Some external funders require open access or public access of articles about research that they fund.

Issues: Authors' rights and OA Journals

Even if you are publishing with an OA journal, you need to be sure you do not transfer all rights to your article. Authors' rights are the same as in all works under copyright.  Authors may still transfer some or all rights to a publisher or keep their rights and allow publication by license such as a Creative Commons license. OA journals handle authors' rights in various ways, although the most common is a creative commons license.