Open Access Publication: Why It’s Worth It

When it comes to submitting scientific articles to academic journals, the process can be difficult to say the least. The good news is that there is another way to get your work out there, without having to jump through a plethora of hoops – and this is open access publishing. 

Open access publishing has become increasingly popular in recent years, making scientific articles more accessible to those that need them. With the internet playing a huge part in how we both source and consume information, the need for updating publishing practices has instigated an overhaul to meet demand. Traditional printed journals are growing more and more obsolete year after year, taking a hit to their relevance in favour of digital content.

Methods of open access publishing

There are three models used when open access publishing is necessary: the green open access model, the gold and the platinum. As a substantial number of scientific journals needed to move into new environments, these models allow the scientific community to save, share and gain access to the information they need with ease. With this in mind, many are partly or fully open access already.

  1. Green tier open access publications

These are articles that are attainable only after initial publication. In these cases, the publisher retains copyright over the author. You’ll find these manuscripts in repositories, typically within a few weeks of publication.

  1. Gold tier open access publications

Opposite to the green model, the gold allows scientific papers to be released at the point of publication, allowing authors to maintain copyright in their own capacity (this will come with an article processing charge). This lets them use and reuse their work as they see fit, without too much restriction.

  1. Platinum tier open access publications

The platinum (sometimes known as diamond) open access model functions in much the same as gold in terms of publication release – but the difference is that authors won’t have to pay an article processing fee. These are instead taken care of by other means, usually by institutions or societies within the relevant scientific community.

Is open access publishing worth it?

In short the answer is yes, as open access publishing leads manuscripts to a wider audience than they could potentially reach with traditional publishing endeavours. Download numbers are far higher than the number of paper journals that are currently bought, and open access articles can be viewed multiple times without difficulty. The growing use of citations from public access articles has increased in the last few years also, and this is certainly worth considering as a positive factor.

For authors, faster publication times and keeping ownership of their work can spell the difference between remaining relevant with their research and new developments having an impact – and this can have a knock-on effect with gaining notoriety and advancing careers. The scientific community on the whole can benefit, as the pace of research is increased. Open access articles create equal access to individuals worldwide, opening up the potential to reach economically disadvantaged regions, where this was once almost an impossibility.

Some experts have expressed concern over the ability to share scientific articles with the world at large, as their quality and reputability may be called into question.  As a process that is moving with the times, it’s not hard to see why they may feel this way, but as these connotations are linked more with prestige than anything else, it’s clear to see that modernisation should be a driving factor.