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Does Open Access Mean Free?

It would be best to publish our research to further our academic careers; when it comes to publishing a research paper, one of the most significant decisions we'll make as a researcher is which publication to submit it to. The medium in which we publish our work may substantially impact the reach and impact of research. Before proceeding, it is vital that we thoroughly investigate our alternatives and thoroughly examine each aspect of journal submission – from shortlisting titles to deciding your preferred type of publication, such as open access – before moving further.

What Is Open Access?

The approach of providing published academic publications freely and permanently available online so that anyone can read and build upon this knowledge is known as open access. Thanks to the Internet, which allows us to distribute identical copies of our work to a global audience at nearly no expense, our work may be shared with a worldwide audience at almost no cost. To make use of this unparalleled potential, we offer our work "open access," which means it is available digitally, online, and without charge, as well as free of most copyright and license restrictions. Open access is only possible thanks to the Internet and the assistance of copyright holders; yet, a vast number of writers, singers, filmmakers, and other content creators who rely on income are understandably hesitant to provide their consent. On the other hand, scholars have been writing peer-reviewed journal papers for the goal of influence rather than profit for 350 years, and they are free to accept open access without losing money.

Open access is a term that refers to the provision of open, unrestricted internet access to research outputs such as journal articles and books, among other things. OA material is freely available to anyone, and there are no access fees. One includes releasing articles or books on a publisher's platform through the open access approach (often called gold open access).

Is Free Access Same As Open Access?

When most people think of open access, they instantly think of free access, which is not incorrect. And open access journals have a crucial advantage: they provide free access to their content. However, there is more to open access than meets the eye, which is especially important when considering whether or not to publish open access yourself. According to the Open Definition, "knowledge is open if everyone has the freedom to access it, use it, alter it, and share it with anyone else." As a result, granting reuse rights is another key benefit of open access publishing. The third characteristic of open access publishing is that the author of an open access publication retains ownership of the publication rather than giving all rights to the publisher.

Non-subscribers can view an article in a subscription journal not restricted to subscribers. In contrast, to open access papers, which are provided permanently, a free access article may only be freely available for a limited amount of time.

The terms "open access" and "public domain" are not synonymous. Intellectual property rights do not protect works that are in the public domain. Open access is consistent with intellectual property rights. Aside from cases in which open access works merely happen to be in the public domain, most open access works are protected by intellectual property rights. For example, Project Gutenberg is an example of open access material since the books that have been digitalised are in the public domain due to the expiration of their copyright license. However, the Public Library of Science (PLoS) articles are open access but still protected by copyright; PLoS applies Creative Commons licensing to the articles they publish, which allows for "unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium as long as the original author and source are properly credited."


Open access is a global effort to make academic content like publications and data freely available online. Open access means that anybody can read, download, copy, distribute, print, search for and search within the material, or use it in education or any other lawful way. Unlike the traditional subscription model, which compels readers to pay a fee for academic information, open access makes research materials freely available to readers (usually via libraries). Open access publication increases the exposure and reuse of academic research findings. The quality problem needs further attention. The Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities (2003). This proclamation has been signed by many academic research institutions worldwide.

About The Authors

Suleman Shah

Suleman Shah - Suleman Shah is a researcher and freelance writer. As a researcher, he has worked with MNS University of Agriculture, Multan (Pakistan) and Texas A & M University (USA). He regularly writes science articles and blogs for science news website immersse.com and open access publishers OA Publishing London and Scientific Times. He loves to keep himself updated on scientific developments and convert these developments into everyday language to update the readers about the developments in the scientific era. His primary research focus is Plant sciences, and he contributed to this field by publishing his research in scientific journals and presenting his work at many Conferences. Shah graduated from the University of Agriculture Faisalabad (Pakistan) and started his professional carrier with Jaffer Agro Services and later with the Agriculture Department of the Government of Pakistan. His research interest compelled and attracted him to proceed with his carrier in Plant sciences research. So, he started his Ph.D. in Soil Science at MNS University of Agriculture Multan (Pakistan). Later, he started working as a visiting scholar with Texas A&M University (USA). Shah’s experience with big Open Excess publishers like Springers, Frontiers, MDPI, etc., testified to his belief in Open Access as a barrier-removing mechanism between researchers and the readers of their research. Shah believes that Open Access is revolutionizing the publication process and benefitting research in all fields.

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