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Graduate Guide to Research

Open Access

Open access is a growing international movement that continues to gain momentum worldwide. Based on the principle that all research should be freely accessible online after publication, open access removes barriers that once restricted public access to scholarly research and knowledge.

As of May 1st, 2015, open access is mandated by the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications. Open access refers to scholarly research that is made freely available on the internet. In a scholarly environment, open access often focuses on journal articles.


Open Access Publishing

Advantageous of OA Publishing include:

  • Adhere to the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications in one of two ways:
    • "Submit your manuscript to a journal that offers immediate open access or offers open access to the paper on its website within 12 months of publication."
    • "Submit your manuscript to a journal that does not offer open access, but will permit you to archive the peer-reviewed manuscript in a central or institutional repository within 12 months of publication."
  • Final peer-reviewed version of your work will be openly available on the publisher's website and discoverable wherever the publisher has indexed it leading to:
    • increased interaction resulting in increased number of views and citations
    • improved education and public access

Predatory Open Access Publishers

The development of Open Access Publishing has seen the rise of predatory journals that seek to exploit the OA model. The primary goal of these journals is to make a profit by engaging in questionable editorial and publishing practices.

A Predatory Journal may:

  • appear as unsolicited spam from a non academic email account and include a lot of spelling and grammatical errors
  • not provide the name of their editors or editorial board
  • not provide an address or give a fake address
  • promise rapid publication (i.e. little or no peer review)
  • make false claims (i.e. regarding impact factor and indexing)
  • advertise special offers (i.e. reduced fees or limited time discounts)

For more information about predatory publishers, see the McMaster University How to Avoid Predatory Publishers and Conferences guide and checklist.

See also the Fall 2021 DMDS workshop recording entitled Predatory publishing in the era of open knowledge: Reducing the odds of falling prey

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