Like everything else evolving, the acceptance of open access journals among authors and readers increases tremendously by the day. As researchers, funders and publishers invest quite some in newer opportunities, open access journals sure come with lots of benefits. However, a few problems have been associated with this type of publication as well over the years.
Sadly, even with the multiple advancements implemented on open access models, these challenges cannot be ignored. Let’s look through a few problems associated with open access journals– pointing to why they aren’t as great as they claim. Shall we?
Research Quality of the Journals
The research quality of open access journals has been one of the most challenging defects associated with this publication. It’s been the lasting complaints of multiple open access journal readers across the globe for years. The increasing number of these publications is a major reason why there’s depreciation in quality yearly. For example, these journals’ poor backgrounds make identifying the source and credibility of each content almost impossible. (Which journal should I choose for my paper?)
Since the only requirement for getting your predatory journal published is the Article Processing Charge (APC), there’s no standard for scrutinizing these journals’ quality. Authors from several academic backgrounds, beliefs, ethics, and school of thought publish their journals on the open-access publication. Also, the authenticity of the research data and content of these journals cannot be guaranteed. (What is a mega journal?)
In the early century, perhaps self-archiving would have been an advantage of open access journals. However, it’s a disadvantage in this age, with other evolving innovations in storing published data. Open access models operate with a pre- or post-print only archive that stores and keep published data. To reduce cost, self-archiving helps investors save a lot while they still publish content. However, what’s the longevity of these journals?
Open access models are not the most secure and long-lasting as their hybrid alternative. Unlike the open-access models, hybrid journals tend to have up-to-date technology for storing the data for every journal before and after publishing. Although they could be a little more expensive than open access models, hybrid journals have better security and archive memory.
Exploitation by Predatory Publishers
This is a common challenge faced by the open-access business model. Predatory publishers are individuals who take advantage of open access models strictly to charge publication fees. Even when predatory publishers mandate these charges on authors, they fail to include the peer-review, editorial, and proofreading services in their delivery. Authors working on multiple publications per time expect that their journals are edited before publishing. Unfortunately, predatory publishers fail to meet their expectations.
Over time, predatory publishers have made numerous authors and readers doubt open access models’ credibility. It is now a known fact among authors and a large percentage of readers that open access journals have zero peer-reviewed before publication. We believe this to be more of a challenge to the model than predatory publishers. The predatory publishers exploit the credibility built by the model for their benefits, while open access loses its consumers yearly.
Why Go for Open Access Journals Then?
In conclusion, although open access journals come with these few challenging problems, the model is still trusted by many authors to date. It’s still the only model that offers wide-range visibility, lower publication costs, and trusted citations (Can you cite Wikipedia?). Among authors, both young and old, we still choose and prefer that we could publish a lot of content for just a token article processing charge.
As stated earlier on, the problem is the quality of these publications for authors looking to spam readers with numerous fake research and data. On the other hand, readers also get a wide range of quality content on open access journals without subscription costs. There are more than enough reasons for anyone to consider open access journals.