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Open Access: What OA is Not

Open Access (OA) literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. (Peter Suber, "A Very Brief Introduction to Open Access")

Open Access Myths

Many myths, misunderstandings, and miscommunications surround OA. Unfortunately, many opponents to OA actively cultivate FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt), further complicating the issues. Even those with the best intentions sometimes muddy the waters as they attempt to explain the facts. The fact remains that despite the myths and FUD, OA issues are not clear-cut: controversies do exist and warrant consideration. Here are three articles by the Library Leadership Network that are meant to help clarify the situation.

Open Access Myths - Busted!

(UNC-Chapel Hill Libraries)

Open Access is NOT...

OA need not conflict with peer-reviewed scholarship. An example is the NIH Public Access Policy, which requires OA Green archiving of peer-reviewed manuscripts - not the final published version - resulting from NIH-funded research be archived in PubMed Central.

OA need not apply to all works of scholarship. In many cases, OA policies will apply only to journal articles or similar shorter works, not to monographs.

OA need not be mandatory in all instances. Successful university OA policies include an opt-out option, which covers authors whose publishers' policies do not allow archiving.

OA need not require an author to transfer copyright in order to make their scholarship accessible.

OA is not free to produce. The costs of publishing and distributing scholarship remain, but the costs may be shifted. In some cases, authors may pay to have an article published as OA Gold. In other cases, universities host institutional or subject OA Green repositories in which authors can deposit articles at no cost to them.


Adapted from Emory University Libraries' Open Access guide, created by Lisa Maclin, at


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