Open access to academic research has never been a hotter topic. But it's still held back by myths and misunderstandings repeated by people who should know better. The good news is that open access has been successful enough to attract comment from beyond its circle of pioneers and experts. The bad news is that a disappointing number of policy-makers, journalists and academics opine in public without doing their homework.
Here, at the start of the sixth global Open Access Week, are the six most common and harmful misunderstandings about open access:
1) The only way to provide open access to peer-reviewed journal articles is to publish in open access journals
Open access delivered by journals is called "gold" open access and open access delivered by repositories is called "green" open access. The myth asserts that all open access is gold , even for peer-reviewed articles. It has been false since the birth of open access, and yet it remains a tenacious and widespread misconception. Today most open access in medicine and biomedicine is gold, but in every other field it's mostly green.
The myth is due in part to the relative novelty of the green model. Most academics understand open access journals, more or less, because they understand journals. (I say "more or less" because the common understanding of open access journals is itself myth-ridden; more below.) By contrast, repositories are comparatively new in the scholarly landscape, making them easy to overlook or underestimate.
Digital research repositories arose in the digital era, while peer-reviewed journals arose in the year that Isaac Newton earned his bachelor's degree.