You’ve probably heard the term open access – maybe it’s the reason you were able to get the full text of that article you needed? Maybe it’s the reason so many people read your latest article?
Open access (OA) is about making research literature freely available on the Internet with few copyright or license restrictions. In honor of Open Access Week (happening right now!), here are the top 10 reasons to publish OA…
10. Improve discoverability
Open articles commonly show up more places than just the publisher’s website, for example, in subject repositories or ResearchGate or the Tufts Digital Library, and therefore can more readily be found by search engines and through web surfing, not just through traditional articles databases, like PubMed or Web of Science. In addition, search engines can more readily crawl the entire full text of open articles, beyond just the citation information and abstract.
9. Enlarge readership
Since open access materials can be easier to find and the full text is available to all, more people are likely to read them. You didn’t spend all that time on research and writing to lock away your findings, did you?
8. Diversify readership
Those who have access to paid journal subscriptions represent a limited demographic that does not necessarily correlate to those who will most benefit from and contribute to the research. Removing paywalls removes these misguided filters on readership.
7. Increase citation numbers
Many times, open articles have the opportunity to be cited more by others due to their increased visibility. In addition, since they are often available ahead-of-print, citations can start accumulating earlier in the process.
6. Enhance collaboration
More readers and diversity of readers can lead to more and richer collaboration. Open access can help identify critical colleagues otherwise not reached through traditional publishing communication channels.
5. Drive innovation
What does Google Scholar always say? Stand on the shoulders of giants! Our greatest world achievements are rarely standalone accomplishments. Scholars feed off one another, learn from one another, and grow from one another through sharing and collaboration, which is enhanced by open access.
4. Increase usefulness
Broadening the reach and impact of research makes all those tireless hours of effort that went into creating it all the more worthwhile. I’ll reiterate my early question: You didn’t spend all that time on research and writing to lock away your findings, did you?
3. Shift the economics
Publishers provide added value to a manuscript, through editing, formatting, promotion, and some discoverability services, which incur some cost. For many though, the business model has fallen out of balance. Much research is supported by taxpayers and authors and peer-reviewers are not paid for their publications. Open access realigns the business model so that the research conducted as a public good is available to the public.
2. Join the 21st century
We take advantage of several cutting-edge technologies just to tell our friends how good our lunch was, why would we rely on an antiquated print-based model for communicating important research findings? While many journals are available electronically today, the present system artificially treats them as if they were just as encumbered to obtain and create as their print counterparts when they are clearly not.
1. Save the world!
Yes, this is a bold statement to make, but who knows what accelerated and enhanced collaboration and innovation can lead to? Better addressing climate change? Ending world food insecurity? Curbing pandemic diseases? The only way to know is by opening the communication channels and sharing more.
Have questions? Want to learn more? Read up on Open Access on the Scholarly Communication at Tufts site.
Post contributed by Judy Rabinowitz
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