The key difference between the traditional publishing model and and the open access (OA) publishing model is that the traditional model requires an institutional or personal subscription to access the research, whereas open access research can be accessed without subscription or fee. Instead, many open access publishers charge a publishing fee called an article processing fee (APC) for each article published. Some journals are completely OA, while others use a hybrid model that includes both APCs and a subscription to access content.
If you received funding to support your research, it is very likely you will be subject to an open access or public access requirement. Many funding agencies have policies that require recipients publicly share the results of their research (the resulting publications and/or the underlying data).
Unsure if you’re required to share your publications?
Predatory open-access publishing is an exploitative OA publishing business model that involves charging publication fees to authors without providing the editorial and publishing services associated with legitimate journals (open access or not). The idea that they are "predatory" is based on the view that academics are tricked into publishing with them, though some authors may be aware that the journal is poor quality or even fraudulent.
Complaints that are associated with predatory open-access publishing include:
[This material was adapted from Wikipedia. Licensed under CC Share-Alike. Predatory open access publishing (2018). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Predatory_open_access_publishing&oldid=825294476]
While open access has allowed more transparent access to research, it has also spawned a cottage industry of fake journals who exist for the purpose of generating revenue rather than further scholarship. There are a few simple steps you can take to avoid being fooled by a "predatory publisher."
The best defense against being duped by a predatory publisher is a strong understanding of the publishing landscape in your own field. To learn more about where and how scholars in your discipline share their work, contact your subject librarian.
[This material was adapted from Meredith Kahn, "Sharing your scholarship while avoiding the predators: Guidelines for medical physicists interested in open access publishing," Medical Physics 41, no. 7 (July 2014), http://hdl.handle.net/2027.42/107463(link is external). Licensed under CC BY 3.0(link is external).]