OA Publishing and Peer review
In the discussion about the pro’s and con’s on Open Access, the subject of peer review is often used by critics to argue the downside of the Open Access movement. The reasoning is that the Open Access movement might lead to articles being made publicly available on the net without being subjected to any form of assessment. This abandonment of the traditional peer review process would eventually led to a degradation in quality control of the academic output. Is that likely to happen?
There are two main ways to Open Access publishing: the so-called green road or the golden road. When researchers take the green road, they can publish in a traditional, subscription-based (and traditionally peer-reviewed) journal. Subsequently, conform to the license agreement with the publisher, researchers can make the article freely available on the web by self-archiving it in their institutional repository.
The other way to Open Access publishing is the Golden Road, which means publishing in an Open Access journal. Although (as it does among traditional journals) the form and level of the assessment varies between the various Open Access journals, all of them make use of some form of peer review. The main difference is that instead of charging readers (or their institutions) a subscription to read the contents of the journal, Open Access journals charge authors (or invariably authors' funders) to publish the paper.
In conclusion, the emergence of the Open Access movement has not lead to abandonment of the peer review process. On the other hand, the digitalization and Open Access movement did lead to some interesting developments though. New forms have emerged, which have overthrown the traditional concept of peer review. Whether this development is good or bad – that is yet another discussion.
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