Open access is concerned with online research that is available for anyone to use since it is free of financial restrictions and is fully available for re-use. Because of this however, it is a highly debated topic.
Like anything, open access has its advantages and disadvantages, which you can see in the infographic I made below:
At first I thought I would be against Open Access (OA) because I could see the benefits for everyone but the authors, who would ultimately have to pay for the publication costs.
But then I found out that there is an increase in Government funding for research which would cover those costs, so even though the authors wouldn’t be paid for their articles, they would still receive recognition through citations, and isn’t that the main aim of education? To spread knowledge over receiving financial reward? The costs of OA are justified, because their expenditures with regards to marketing, recruitment and management are rising, so to charge for publication to me, seems fair, especially given that OA contributes to benefitting science and research due to its ‘free for all’ nature, enhancing availability and therefore further developments in research.
The average annual price of journal subscriptions is thousands of pounds, which isn’t surprising seeing as when I haven’t had access to an article, its price is usually between £30 and £100. I have never paid for an article I didn’t already have access to through OA or the University subscriptions because of not only its cost, but also because it may not even turn out to be relevant, given that abstracts don’t always give you all the information you need, and because there are no refunds when it comes to paying for journal articles. This seems equally ridiculous given that the Government and other organisations typically fund research for years, and then it doesn’t even get used because the average person cannot afford to pay for the chance that the £30 article may be relevant, let alone thousands of pounds per year for a subscription to a journal that hasn’t even produced the content it publishes. This is one of the reasons why I am pro OA, however it does make me question my University fees – if part of my nine grand a year is to contribute towards journal subscriptions, if OA came into full effect and was completely accepted by higher education, I would expect to pay less to attend uni, especially if an increasing amount of research is available through OA and if OA is the future, which it is likely to be.
In my opinion, OA is the future for journal articles, so it’s better for researchers to get on board rather than protest it, because then they run the risk of being left behind and not reaping its benefits for education as a whole and for themselves.
Here’s a quick video by the highly accredited publication Wiley, and why they support OA:
BROWN, A. 2012, ‘Open Access: Why Academic Publishers still add value’, [online], Available: http://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/blog/2012/nov/22/open-access-research-publishing-academics?fb=optOut [Accessed 07.05.2016].
Edanz Editing, 2013, ‘Advantages and Disadvantages of Open Access’, [online], Available: https://www.edanzediting.com/blogs/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-open-access [Accessed 07.05.2016].
Open Access, ‘Pros and Cons’, [online], Available: http://www.openaccess.nl/en/what-is-open-access/pros-and-cons [Accessed 07.05.2016].
WEXLER, E. 2015, ‘What Open-Access Publishing Actually Costs’, [online], Available: http://chronicle.com/article/What-Open-Access-Publishing/234108 [Accessed 07.05.2016].
YouTube 2014, ‘Understanding Open Access’, [online], Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2HMouOV-Lg [Accessed 07.05.2016].