Hello Open Access! {Pros & Cons}

“Open Access is a growing international movement that uses the Internet to throw open the locked doors that once hid knowledge.” 

Students like us are thankful for this movement. We are lucky to be in a learning environment where our schools provide us with databases of journals and articles for academic purposes. But what are we going to do if we are no longer students? Can we afford to pay in exchange for information? Look at these prices!

avg 2014 price for scientific disciplines

(Bosch and Henderson, 2014)

Even Universities are cutting subscriptions to lower costs (Api.ning.com, 2014), how are we as individuals going to afford it?

Thus, Open Access (OA) is our solution. We get free access to knowledge, we learn from researchers’ works and build on existing resources to explore further! As it’s not always about “us”, OA contributes to other aspects too!

Authors retrieve their copyrights from the hands of the publishers. They also gain readers and citation rates since articles are open! It builds on broader ways of disseminating helpful studies and allows integration from readers’ opinions to enhance the continuation of the authors’ studies. (Rice, 2013)  Authors’ enthusiasm in their field of work may be spurred on to produce more works.

The chart below indicates the growth of Internet access to not only the World, but also to Developing nations throughout the years. However, Internet access is relatively useless to people if they cannot reach the right information they need. Especially in developing nations where healthcare infrastructure is a complication. Lack of access to health science resources hinders the healthcare practitioners’ learning and searching for answers to illnesses!

Percentage of households with Internet access, by level of development. (International Telecommunication Union (ITU), 2014)

Of course, there are also downsides of OA. One of it is the proliferation of poor quality peer-reviewed journals. Wouldn’t this decelerate our speed to source for helpful, accurate information? An article I found online depicts this issue:

A section of the article’s content. (Shaw, 2013)

Another downside is the business model of OA where publishers collect fees from authors when their articles get published. The payer now becomes the author instead of subscribers or readers, often this fee is funded by universities, companies or government. Hence, if funding is reduced, authors may become discouraged. (Purvis, 2013) Also, one can abuse this model by easily setting up a journal to accept articles, then charging high fees when it’s published. (Rice, 2013) Naive authors may be exploited.

Overall, I think OA makes good use of the Internet to deliver and share information to people. Personally, open access would benefit me greatly in the future when I enter the workforce. I can still gain access to information which may be relevant and much needed for my work.

Till then! 🙂


References:

Api.ning.com, (2014). [online] Available at: http://api.ning.com/files/i0L51jUXROwUXNZ97vNSlR8RnAFSIslKIIgHh3-DOQwejdCtzhkG3nkZnQTrfBMkP5IHD2n2Xl2cxwrMoloCzMRtLCf*wFud/We%20Support%20Open%20Access [Accessed 9 Dec. 2014].

Bosch, S. and Henderson, K. (2014). Steps Down the Evolutionary Road | Periodicals Price Survey 2014. [online] Library Journal. Available at: http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2014/04/publishing/steps-down-the-evolutionary-road-periodicals-price-survey-2014/#_ [Accessed 9 Dec. 2014].

Hubbard, M. (2014). 6a0115713419e0970c01bb079c033d970d. [image] Available at: http://lmulibrary.typepad.com/lmu-library-news/2014/10/open-access-week.html [Accessed 9 Dec. 2014].

International Telecommunication Union (ITU), (2014). chart-1-3a-thumbnail. [image] Available at: http://www.itu.int/en/newsroom/PublishingImages/wtis14/chart-1-3a-thumbnail.jpg [Accessed 9 Dec. 2014].

Purvis, A. (2013). Advantages and Disadvantages of Open Access | edanz editing global. [online] Edanzediting.com. Available at: http://www.edanzediting.com/blog/advantages_and_disadvantages_open_access#.VIbeIzGUcxI [Accessed 9 Dec. 2014].

Rice, C. (2013). Open access publishing hoax: what Science magazine got wrong. [online] the Guardian. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/blog/2013/oct/04/science-hoax-peer-review-open-access [Accessed 9 Dec. 2014].

Rice, C. (2013). Open access: four ways it could enhance academic freedom. [online] the Guardian. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/blog/2013/apr/22/open-access-academic-freedom-publishing [Accessed 9 Dec. 2014].

Shaw, C. (2013). Hundreds of open access journals accept fake science paper. [online] the Guardian. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/2013/oct/04/open-access-journals-fake-paper [Accessed 9 Dec. 2014].

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2 thoughts on “Hello Open Access! {Pros & Cons}

  1. Hello Zoe! 😀 Thanks for sharing the informative table about the Average 2014 Price for Scientific Disciplines. Wow, it is really shocking to see how much the prices are rated for each discipline. This greatly shows us how important Open Access (OA) is, especially to us students. After reading your interesting post, I have come up with some questions that I would like your views on. 🙂

    Do you agree that OA will make a significant impact on those developing countries and LDCs country? On what aspects do you think OA will change the lives of those people living in developing country and LDCs?

    From your point of view, I do agree that one can be unethical and start abusing the rights of OA to exploit those naïve authors. Hence, what do you think can be done to prevent those people from creating a journal easily for exploitation from occurring?

    Thanks for hearing my views! 🙂

    Like

    • Hello Xiu Zhen! Thanks for your comment 🙂

      I would say, OA will aid the developing countries and LDCs better, not to a significant extent as of now since internet access is still to be improved. I have shared the example of helping them build a better health infrastructure where their medical practitioners can get access to important research information about illnesses etc. Another area that OA will make an impact would be education. When the professors/educators there get access to more information, they can then educate the students well!

      As for preventing these people from creating a journal easily, I think firstly we should educate authors about which journals to publish their work in. There can be screening guide for authors to check against the journals to ensure they don’t fall into such trap!

      Hope this helps! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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