Since 2003, when PLoS Biology was launched, there has been a spectacular growth in “open-access” journals. The Directory of Open Access Journals (, hosted by Lund University Libraries, lists 2,816 open-access journals as this article goes to press (and probably more by the time you read this). Authors also have various “open-access” options within existing subscription journals offered by traditional publishers (e.g., Blackwell, Springer, Oxford University Press, and many others). In return for a fee to the publisher, an author’s individual article is made freely available and (sometimes) deposited in PubMed Central (PMC). But, as open access grows in prominence, so too has confusion about what open access means, particularly with regard to unrestricted use of content—which true open access allows. This confusion is being promulgated by journal publishers at the expense of authors and funding agencies wanting to support open access.

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