Why Full Open Access Matters

PLOS Biology 9(11) (2011)

3 Pages Posted: 13 Apr 2016  

Michael W. Carroll

American University Washington College of Law

Date Written: November 29, 2011


Scientific authors who pay to publish their articles in an open-access publication should be congratulated for doing so. They also should be aware that they may not be getting full open access from some publications that charge for publication under the ‘‘open access’’ label. Two features define an open-access publication: (1) the published contents are freely accessible through the Internet, and (2) readers are given copyright permission to republish or reuse the content as they like so long as the author and publisher receive proper attribution. Recently, some publications have begun offering an open access option that charges for Internet publication without granting readers full reuse rights, such as Springer’s Open Choice or Nature’s Scientific Reports. These publishers have adopted a business model through which authors pay for immediate publication on the Internet but the publisher nonetheless keeps commercial reuse rights for itself. This is not full open access.

Getting open access right matters because the new publishing model is designed to increase the pace and impact of scientific communication through the power of the Internet. Immediate, free publication increases the audience for scientific research and overcomes the increasingly high price barrier to access imposed by the traditional, subscription-based publishing model. N.B., this audience is comprised of both human readers and their computers, which function more effectively when browsing text on the open web. Liberal reuse rights permit users to republish, quote liberally, and to overcome language barriers through translation. To accomplish these important objectives, the open-access model makes two structural changes to the traditional, subscription-based model. The first is to shift the financing for publication from readers, through subscription fees, to authors (often through their funders), through article processing fees. The second is to shift from a model that uses copyright to control reuse of content to one that uses copyright to encourage republication, preservation, and translation.

Keywords: open access publication

Suggested Citation

Carroll, Michael W., Why Full Open Access Matters (November 29, 2011). PLOS Biology 9(11) (2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2763702

Michael W. Carroll (Contact Author)

American University Washington College of Law ( email )

4300 Nebraska Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20016
United States
202-274-4047 (Phone)
202-730-4756 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.wcl.american.edu/faculty/mcarroll/

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