What are the benefits of open access research?

Traditional edition
Open access research and self-publishing
Limits of open access research
Further reading

Open Access (OA) research refers to a less traditional form of publication. This involves publishing out of pocket through a third-party source with some credibility and then granting that publication to all readers for free.

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In the past, international conglomerates and highly accredited academic institutions only published their own findings in exchange for financial compensation, to advance their research. However, we are now seeing the novel transform into open access documents. Although few in number, they see greater impact in academia and may even become the norm in decades to come.

Traditional edition

Under classic publishing, there is no cost to the searcher, as the entity in question will put the item up for sale, whether by subscription or upfront payment. This will benefit the researcher with financial compensation, in addition to the publicity they will receive on behalf of the publication. This will lead to more grants, college scholarships, etc.

On the other hand, open access research via its own platform may come with various preliminary costs. Running a journal or maintaining a platform on which to speak to an audience can be expensive, as researchers may have to pay for editing, professional formatting, associate editors, etc. If the researcher wishes to expand their target demographic, they will need to implement a sales and marketing approach, which could further increase costs.

Open access research and self-publishing

The open access search paradigm is relatively new and directly correlated to the novelty of the World Wide Web. Websites such as LexisNexis, academia.edu and researchgate.com host many self-published works, paying the journals a set fee so that they in turn can produce the journal in open access. As the article is free and accessible, one can influence and connect with a wider range of researchers and other writers.

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Many private companies will distribute the abstract section of a person’s research and demand full payment if a person wishes to read the entire article. This coincides with traditional publishing. However, with open access search, interested parties will be able to see all of your text. This will lead to an increase in his H-index, which is a measure of the impact factor in a specific academic field.

This positive aspect of open access journals will also increase the researcher’s readership and citation counts. If one wishes to peruse the traditional edition, the audience will be lacking, unless one is part of an institution that will bear the cost of the subscription.

This can be quite a large expense if someone wants to pay for multiple journal subscriptions. With open access research comes the exposure effect, related to the cognitive bias in which “the more people have access to your findings, the more people will like and appreciate those findings”. The more exposure one gets, the more citations one will get in any written work they produce.

Related: Importance of rare disease research

Limits of open access research

While this method grants more data and research to more people, expanding the depths of everyone’s scientific knowledge banks, there are some caveats. The floodgates of open science data have resulted in more predatory publications and more predatory reviews. These journals will target inexperienced research or unreliable findings and publish them for a small fee.

Second-rate scholars will often willingly pay a toll for the resulting publication, aspiring to gain status or expand their CV. This has been demonstrated in medicine, chemistry, psychology, and other STEM and non-STEM fields. This leads to predatory journals hoarding a large sum of money, followed by the publication of untrue data. This kind of open access leads to recognition as a form of reimbursement, while being hit with a substantially high fee.

Clear signs exist for those wishing to avoid these predatory reviews. For the most part, these journals will be newer, publishing only two to four issues per year. This low number of publications is somewhat sustainable thanks to the high fees that investigators pay to produce their findings. For these reasons, aspiring writers should look for publishing sites that have a high turnover.

Also be wary of the credibility and notoriety of other researchers who publish on the site. This will denote a level of trust in the editor and is an even better sign of truthfulness than the number of posts.

Ultimately, the future of publishing platforms and data dissemination is unknown. However, all stakeholders agree, changes in the publishing landscape are inevitable. Some believe that the “green” route will be taken, referring to the self-archiving of articles published by non-OA journals.

Others believe that the “golden route” will gain popularity (direct publication in open access journals). Both movements are predicted to grow in popularity, and there may even be room for both mediums to exist.

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Further reading

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