Of all the scholarly, peer-reviewed journals published worldwide, approximately 10% are said to be open access—-having current, immediate and freely available content. This statistic is definitely reflected in the fields of dermatology and ophthalmology. There does appear to be more open access journals in the cosmetic and plastic surgery areas of the field of dermatology than in the rest of the field. This may be due to the current public popularity of this topic in the world of clinical practice.
Open access refers to free online access to peer-reviewed scholarly literature, which has traditionally been given away by authors without remuneration. "True"--or gold--open access refers to content available immediately upon being published. There is no embargo period on this content.
Some ophthalmology and dermatology publishers, such as the Oxford Journals from Oxford University Press allow delayed open access archives online to the general public. Most journal embargo periods generally range from about 3-12 months.
Some publishers such as Elsevier allow self-archiving. Self-archiving occurs when the author submits an article (pre- or post-print) to an open access subject or institutional archive/repository--making the content freely available. Elsevier allows institutional archiving, though not subject archiving.
The Public Library of Science (PLoS) is one of the top publishers in the medical field, publishing PLoS Medicine and PLoS One which focus on advancements of--and correlations between--all disciplines. Many OA journals are only published online, yet PLoS provides print issues on demand and accessible article content summaries for laypersons. It is a not-for-profit organization and they do not charge author article fees. BioMed Central, on the other hand, a for profit enterprise, charges an author fee to the tune of one to two thousand dollars.