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Help:Open access

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There are two kinds of journal articles and publications: closed access and open access. Most scientific journals—like Science and Nature, but also Advances in Chronic Kidney Disease—demand that you, or your university, pay a subscription to read the articles printed within. This is reasonable enough, at least when the word "print" is involved. They also require a subscription to read online versions of the same articles, on the grounds that it still costs money to publish them regardless of format. Not a cent of this money goes to the authors of the articles or the people who review them, but pay no heed to that—that's commie talk.

Open access propaganda video[edit]

What is open access?[edit]

Some journals operate under a completely different model, the upshot of which is that articles are free to read without a paying subscription. This is obviously very useful for your average internet user, who is quite unlikely to have the required university access, but might still want to read the paper you have cited.

Another element to the model is that, as the money has to come from somewhere, authors who publish in an open access journal will have to pay for the privilege. This has the obvious drawback in that well-intentioned open access has the potential to cross into vanity publishing territory—see, for example, Bentham Science Publishers. Other seedy open access journals include the creationist Answers Research Journal and BIO-Complexity. Keep this in mind when evaluating the reliability of the source of any article.

There are, of course, also plenty of perfectly decent open access journals, the most famous example of which being the PLoS (Public Library of Science) journal family. Some generally closed access journals will also publish the occasional open paper. A few others make all of their papers open access after a given period (usually measured in years) has elapsed.

Citing open access articles on RationalWiki[edit]

Journal articles in general aren't referenced often enough on the wiki, but open access papers are particularly welcome for the reasons already explained. Cite them just as you would anything else, but add the {{oa}} template (Open access journal article). Compare:

Citing and marking open access articles in this way is particularly useful in lists such as the list of studies showing no link between abortion and breast cancer. Such lists have the intent of giving a small sample of the overwhelming scientific consensus on an issue. It is also useful, however, to ensure that at least some of the list can be accessed by the readers so that they can verify your argumentum ad populum, and if they can tell which papers those are then that's all for the good.

See also[edit]