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LIBRARY 

Writing and Publishing in the Medical and Health Sciences: Open Access Publishing

This guide is intended to inform authors about the key features of scholarly writing and publishing in the medical and health sciences.

What is Open Access Publishing?

 

Open access (OA) refers to freely available, digital, online information. Open access scholarly literature is free of charge and often carries less restrictive copyright and licensing barriers than traditionally published works, for both the users and the authors. 

While OA is a newer form of scholarly publishing, many OA journals comply with well-established peer-review processes and maintain high publishing standards. Unlike traditional publishing, OA journals are supported by copyright holders who freely and generously allow wide distribution to all users. Reproduction in any medium is allowed and encouraged provided the original author and source are creditedThousands of Open Access journals are available full text in DOAJ and PubMed Central.

Open access is usually something the author decides to grant upon publication of his/her article, whereas Public Access is a mandate about NIH funded research articles. Beware of the dangers of getting connected to predatory publishers. For more information about predatory publishing practices, refer to the Predatory Publishing TAB given available within this Subject Guide - Publishing in the Medical and Health Sciences.

Open Access Journals

Unlike traditional publishing, Open Access journals are supported by copyright holders who freely and generously allow wide distribution to all users.   Reproduction in any medium is allowed and encouraged provided the original author and source are credited.   Thousands of Open Access journals are available full text iDOAJ and PubMed Central.

Open Access is usually something the author decides to grant upon publication of his/her article, whereas Public Access is a mandate about NIH funded research articles. Beware of the dangers of getting connected to predatory publishers. For more information about predatory publishing practices, refer to the predatory publishing TAB given available within this Subject Guide - Publishing in the Medical and Health Sciences.

Gratis vs. Libre

   Image: Opensource.com, http://tinyurl.com/l7y66vo

  • Gratis OA is information that is available free of charge while some copyright and licensing restrictions may still apply.

  • Libre OA is information that is free of charge and free of most copyright and licensing restriction.

  • While "free" implies that the information does not cost anything to access, remember that OA publishing still often involves a cost to the author to publish the work.

Scholarly vs. Predatory Publishing

Scholarly Publishing includes the process of creating and evaluating scholarly content, disseminating it to the scholarly community, and preserving it for future use. One of the fundamental purposes of scholarly publishing is to facilitate inquiry and the creation of new knowledge. The majority of scholars pursue their research and disseminate the results with little or no expectation of direct financial reward.

Predatory Publishing is not focused on publishing scholarly, scientific works.  Maintaining the integrity of scientific research and discovery is not emphasized as an essential responsibility. Predatory publishing practices involve solicitation of publications from both experienced and inexperienced authors. They contact prospective authors, promising quick or simplified publishing requirements. Those interested in publishing are encouraged to submit manuscripts for consideration only to discover their research will not be published until high author fees are paid; often manuscripts are held hostage until fees are paid or legal action is considered or pursued. Predators minimize the peer review process, even eliminating it completely. 

A predatory publisher is an opportunistic publishing venue that exploits the academic need to publish but offers little reward for those using their services.

The academic "publish or perish" scenario combined with the relative ease of website creation has inadvertently created a market ripe for the exploitation of academic authors. Some publishers are predatory on purpose, while others may make mistakes due to neglect, mismanagement, or inexperience. While the motivations and methods vary predatory publishers have common characteristics:

  • Their primary goal is to make money (i.e. there will be fees).
  • They do not care about the quality of the work published (i.e. no or little editing or peer-review).
  • They make false claims or promises (i.e. claims of impact factors and indexing).
  • They engage in unethical business practices (i.e. not as advertised).
  • They fail to follow accepted standards or best practices of scholarly publishing (various).

Predatory publishers are threats to the reporting and sharing of scientific discovery, clinical findings and medical progress. Ultimately, the practices of predatory publishers threaten the care provided to patients.

Mayo & Open Access Journal fees

Before publishing in an open access journal, consult with your Mayo Clinic department/division chair to ensure there are funds available to cover the open access fees and that the journal is published by a reputable publisher.