The advantages and disadvantages of Open Access (online resources).
The internet has made it easier than ever to undertake research for academic study, with the ability to browse information readily at the click of a button, wherever you are. Open Access is one such research pathway that is made possible by the availability of Wi-Fi. Open access allows individuals to view and use peer reviewed journals and books without having to pay a subscription fee. It is a valuable resource for students, lecturers, researchers, publishers and administrators alike.
Benefits of Open Access.
Availability of open access encourages people to read more widely, and in this way contribute to the spread of knowledge and information that may not have otherwise been possible. As such, prospective authors should consider having their work published in the open access forum.
Authors who are published in open access journals do not lose ownership of their work, they have complete control over the copyright. Mistakenly, it is thought that work published in open access journals does not have the same credibility as traditional publication routes. It should be noted that open access journals are peer- reviewed, they are referenced in scholarly databases and importantly for the author, they do carry an impact factor (on average how many times articles in the journal have been cited by others).
Open access enables more people to have sight of new thinking which in turn should prompt initiation of fresh research studies; promoting knowledge creates more knowledge. Similarly, those in industry can access the latest scientific research and data to improve their development and innovation functions which may result in a positive boost for the economy. The education sector can also benefit from the increased use of open access, giving both students and teachers access to the most-up-to-date content in relation to the subjects they are focusing on.
Why Are Researchers Reluctant to Use It?
Researchers recognise the benefits of open access, but there is still some reluctance in the uptake of this publication model. Largely this is attributed to concerns about quality of open access journals and as a result the impact factor. Of course, it is accepted that it can take some time for both open access and traditional journals before achieving respectable impact factors. Furthermore, researchers have been spammed by open access publishers, colouring their perception of the whole model. Fortunately there is the opportunity to check the quality of an open access journal via databases such as QOAM, Scirev.sc. and DOAJ. There is also the issue of additional administrative tasks to complete publication in an open access journal, which can be off-putting to researchers who have already spent considerable time and effort in finishing their articles, especially since they are still subject to an Author Processing Charge (APCs), at least for the time being.
Despite the ‘teething’ issues, evidence from countries who have adopted the open access model is largely positive. If you’re looking for guidance on where to begin with open access, then the following points could be a good place to begin: