Open Access Publishing: Why Pursue It and What Are Its Benefits?

By Grace Hamburger on Nov 8, 2019
Open Access Publishing

Why do we research? To spread knowledge, and to allow that knowledge to spark new ideas and create waves. But research is costly, both in practice and in the final product. Academic material can be expensive, and that can mean research that rests behind a paywall will only hit a limited audience. What if you want your work to be seen by more than just a small group? Luckily, there is an alternative method – Open Access (OA) publishing.

Open Access (OA) publishing allows an entire publication or articles/chapters of a publication to be openly and freely available online. Authors submit their work through a host source, and once published, users are given unlimited access to it. Users in most cases have the right to distribute, remix, tweak, and/or build upon the work, so long as the author of the original creation is credited and the new creations are licensed under the identical terms. Any type of publication can be made OA, but it is most often seen with academic journals. Being able to access research for free is obviously beneficial to the user, but how can it be beneficial to you, the author?

Immediate Access

The standard subscription-based publishing process can be painstaking. Even after you’ve put the final touches on your piece, it can feel like you’re waiting endlessly for a copy of your finished work to finally make its debut. This can be the result of various embargoes through distribution channels or delays with a printer. While most OA publications follow the same level of rigorous review and production that publications under the standard subscription-based model follow, the work is immediately made available online with no embargoes or delays of any kind. This fast turnaround can be an important tool for getting information out quickly, especially if research material is time-sensitive.

Quality Processing

Open Access publications follow a rigorous peer review process just like works published under a standard subscription-based model. Authors of work being considered for open access publication will traditionally be able to benefit from copy editing services provided either directly through the publishing house they are working with, or through a contracted partnership that the publisher holds with a third-party editorial services provider. However, for those looking to self-publish their work under open access, eContent Pro International has a plethora of service offerings that can provide support from start to finish including: English language copy editing, scientific & scholarly editing, and typesetting and publishing. Or, for those publishers looking for an editorial service provider, eContent Pro International offers a number of partnership agreements.

Discoverability and Exposure

Standard subscription-based journals are an essential part of academia, and many important articles have been published in this way. But what about everyone else who could benefit from your research, be it students or doctors or simply non-subscribers? Publishing under OA allows anyone and everyone to access your research regardless of their financial state. This exposure leads to greater inclusivity while also increasing the value and citation impact of your work with each person who sees it.

Cost

While the cost to the academic community is free to access work published under OA, there are various costs associated with the publishing process for OA (just as there are for standard subscription-based publishing models). For journals operating standard publishing models, the subscriptions generated cover all the costs incurred by the publisher to develop, format, copy edit, typeset, convert, host, distribute, and promote the work. However, in the case of open access, subscriptions are non-existent and as such, submissions are charged a publication fee in the form of an Article Processing Charge (APC) which is meant to offset the costs to the publisher to produce the work since the article and/or full journal will not be generating any revenue. The APC can be paid by the author or a funding body.

Although these fees can vary greatly and can be quite high, the good news is that many publishers have started offering models designed to help put money into APC funds for institutions, making open access more easily attainable for the faculty, students, and researchers at the institution. IGI Global is one such publisher who recently introduced an Open Access Fee Waiver (Read and Publish Model) Initiative which allows the investment from an institution’s library into IGI Global’s databases to go into an APC fund for their patrons to publish under OA.

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