Today I’m thinking about how “open access” does not mean just one thing.  Yes, all open access works are available online at no charge to readers.  But there are aspects of openness beyond free reading:

Open Access encompasses a range of components such as readership, reuse, copyright, posting, and machine readability. Within these areas, publishers and funding agencies have adopted many different policies, some of which are more open and some less open. In general, the more a journal’s policies codify immediate availability and reuse with as few restrictions as possible, the more open it is.

Read more about the different facets of openness in the new guide How Open Is It?

Have room in your brain for another open access thought?  The guide also includes a very important reminder that openness and quality are separate issues:

Journals can be more open or less open, but their degree of openness is intrinsically independent from their:

  • Impact
  • Prestige
  • Quality of Peer Review
  • Peer Review Methodology
  • Sustainability
  • Effect on Tenure & Promotion
  • Article Quality