Linköping University Electronic Press is an Open Access publisher, which means that authors retain the copyright of their publications and because we use a Creative Commons licensing system, readers may download, read and distribute (non-commercially) a publication as long as they give complete attribution to the authors.
While the concept of open access has been around for many years it is only in the last one or two that it has become a serious alternative for academic publishing. There are three common forms of open access: gold, hybrid and green.
Gold open access refers to cases where a journal does not require a subscription for readers to have access to articles (BioMed Central journals are well-known examples, but a quite full list can be found at the Directory of Open Access Journals, DOAJ). Instead these journals work under a different business model. In some cases this means that they charge publication fees (these fees are normally around €1000, but vary from €500 to €2500; note that some 50% of open access journals have no publication fees). There has been some critique made against open access journals, particularly those which have publishing fees, that there is a perception that an author can pay to have an article published with little respect to quality. It is possible for this to happen and there are some known operations which have dubious practices but there is also a significant number of top ranked journals which are open access journals: as an author you must do your research into a journal as diligently as you do for subscription-based journals; in both worlds there are good journals and bad ones.
A new concept in journals is the mega journal, i.e. open access journals that take publications in wide range of subject areas, peer review them for scientific rigorousness but not for impact or importance. They are open access journals and usually much quicker to publish than traditional journals. PLoS One is a well-known example, but there are other examples: BMJ Open, Nature's Scientific Reports, Hindawi's ISRN, Sage Open, Open Biology and G3. While Plos One dominates, together they have published some 20 000 articles in the last year. Many are rather new and as such unranked by impact factor, however PloS One has an impact factor of 4.4, which puts it in the top quartile of journals in biology.
If you are thinking of publishing in a new journal, we have put together a checklist to evaluate its potential.
Virtually all the major subscription-based publishers offer a scheme whereby you can pay them $3000 (or thereabout) to make your article freely available in their otherwise subscription-based operation. As an author, you often receive an offer for this service just after your paper has been accepted for publication. We strongly do not recommend this option. First, the university effectively ends up paying twice for these publications, once as part of a subscription and once by the authors. Secondly, from the authors' perspective, there is relatively little gain in comparison with the rather high price: the publication isn't as visible as other forms of open access and there is no gain in the speed of publication (open access journals tend to be faster to publisher giving authors an "early access" advantage as well as the open access one). However, if you have published with a journal that has an embargo period that is longer than 6 months for parallel publishing and your financing agency requires open access, then hybrid open access is the only alternative.
This is also referred to as parallel publishing, post-print publishing or self-archiving. Articles from some 90% of subscription-based journals can be made freely available via a university website (for those interested in the legality, read the fine print of your copyright transfer agreement, under author's retained rights). Most of the time you must use the authors' last draft and not the publisher's pdf file; sometimes there can be an embargo period. We highly recommend this route to making your work freely available. We can help you with the details, in fact, if you send us (to firstname.lastname@example.org.) your last draft of your article (often an MS word file) we will take care of the rest for you.
The Berlin Declaration. Available at Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities (2008-10-03)
Budapest Open Access Initativ. Available at Budapest Open Access Initiative (2008-10-03).
Eysenbach, Gunther. “Citation Advantage of Open Access Articles”, PLoS Biology, 4(5): e157, 2006. Available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.0040157 (2007-10-22).
Geist, Michael. “Push for Open Access to Research”, BBC, 28 Feb., 2007. Available at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/6404429.stm (2007-10-22).
Lawrence, S. “Free Online Availability Substantially Increases a Papers’s Impact”, Nature (411) 521, 2001. Available at http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1038/35079151 (2007-10-22) (Requires subscription).
Sandewall, Erik. “Commentarium on Open Access to Research”, 2006. Available at http://piex.publ.kth.se/coar/ (2007-10-22).
“The effect of open access and downloads ('hits') on citation impact: a bibliography of studies”, The Open Citation Project. Available at http://opcit.eprints.org/oacitation-biblio.html (2007-10-22).