Open Access – Continued and Revisited

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Open Access – Continued and Revisited

In my previous blog about OA, I was trying to be as succinct as possible, providing information about the topic – which, as I have noted before, should not be confused with Open Education Resources (OER).  I was aware when I wrote the blog, that because the definitions of Green and Gold can be a bit “fuzzy” around the edges, that I might get responses regarding the simplified definitions that I had provided.  Sure enough, I did receive a couple of personal and friendly emails, and the folks who sent them have kindly agreed to allow me to republish them verbatim, both rectifying and clarifying some of what I wrote.   It’s thanks to our shared philosophies of “openness” that we can all benefit from the interplay of ideas, comments, and suggestions such as these to help us to build an increasingly strong, shared intellectual community.

1.  From Seb Schmoller, Sheffield, UK

I picked up on because when I was CEO of the UK’s Association for Learning Technology I was responsible for transitioning our journal Research in Learning Technology (RLT) from conventional to Open Access.

I must say I was surprised not to see Research in Learning Technology listed in your post.  But that is not the main point of this email. More importantly, I was much more surprised to see journals listed in your post e.g. and that are not Open Access journals in the currently understood sense of the term.

Essentially, these journals have recently started to allow authors if they wish to pay a publication fee, resulting in that particular article being openly available. In contrast, Open Access journals proper, like RLT, make all their content freely available usually under a Creative Commons license, in RLT’s case using the most open license, namely CC-BY.  The do this either by requiring all authors to pay a publication fee, or, as in RLT’s case by not charging a publication fee in the first place.

Kind regards, Seb

2.  From Caroline Sutton, Co-Founder/ Publisher, Co-Action Publishing

As the Past President of OASPA (Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association) and as the co-founder of Co-Action Publishing, an Open Access Scholarly Publishing house, which publishes Research in Learning Technology, UNIPED, Education Inquiry, Medical Education Online and Journal of European Continuing Medical Education, I hope you won’t mind my reaching out to you.

Your blog item confuses hybrid offerings and open access publishing (gold). Gold is free access as well as re-use rights (at least for non-commercial purposes) immediately upon publication. The author retains copyright, or at least the non-commercial copyright in the case of a Creative Commons Non-Commercial license being applied. Open Access publishing (gold) entails making the article/journal freely available immediately upon publication. This is the final published version. This can also be re-used according to the license conditions.

For some journals this is financed through article processing charges (APCs), also known as publication fees. In this case the author would receive an invoice. In some cases an institution will have an agreement with a publisher and the bill will go straight to an institution or funder.  In other cases, authors receive no invoices. This might be because the journal is supported by a grant, or for Research in Learning Technology, for instance, the society pays the full costs of publishing the journal. In this case the journal is both free to use and free to publish in (and free to re-use as long as the original source is attributed).

In contrast, the journals you list offer a “hybrid” solution. This means that an author can choose to pay a fee to free up that specific article, whilst the journal otherwise is under a subscription or licensing situation. What one buys when paying this fee can vary from the article being published under a creative commons license that allows free re-use in addition to use, to the article simply being available immediately to be read. These conditions vary from publisher to publisher.

Co-Action Publishing is a firm believer in making educational research open access. Our journals provide immediate free access and re-use of content upon publication.  Thank you for your time in reading my comment above. I am happy to answer any questions you might have about open access publishing.

Kind regards, Caroline

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