Open Access publishing: The pros and cons

Open access (OA) refers to publications which are free to read, download, copy, distribute, print or search (Openaccess.nl, 2017). This relates to any paywall free publication from academic journals to entertainment (e.g. music and film streaming). Like many digital innovations, OA has its advantages and disadvantages which will be discussed in this post with particular attention on the impacts for content producers.  

The Advantages

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1. 

Increased access/distribution; increases the opportunity for authors to have their work  exposed to a bigger audience; giving them publicity and helping them share their message/research. I believe this benefit is highly beneficial for the education industry (see below).

Open Access advantaged in Education-2
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2.

The infographic below explains the two types of OA publication. One of the main reasons it is faster to publish online, is not having to rely on printing hard copies.

Gold Open Access
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Some OA journals offer a discounted/waived publication fee for papers from countries classified as low-income (Geib, 2013) which benefits authors in LEDC’s.

Fast and easier publication is valued by artists in the music industry as streaming means there is no need to be signed to a music label; creating ease of sharing their work – see Chance’s success story below.

3.

I believe the most valuable benefit for authors is having insight about their work as this enhances decision making. For artists this enables informed decisions around production and promotion. 

The Disadvantages 

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Slideshow information taken from (Tue.nl, 2017)

1.

OA journals do not have a reputable image due to being associated with issues such as pirating and lack of quality control. See this article about the OA journal ‘Sci-hub’. Being associated to such journals may ruin an authors reputation – which is why it’s important for them to choose wisely – the video below advises how.

2.

OA publishing is not yet cheaper than the current costs of licences, and therefore may be costly for authors e.g. publication fees with gold OA.

3.

‘Predatory’ OA journals are known to take ownership of articles. This may disable authors from publishing their articles elsewhere.

8 Ways to Identify a Questionable OA Journal
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 My View 

I personally believe the advantages of OA outweigh the disadvantages as it gives content producers the opportunity to give back on a social level. Arts such as music forms part of many people’s lives and having it widely available provides a rich source of well being for society. Did you know Soundcloud has saved lives? Moreover, without OA journals I couldn’t imagine finishing my university work without spending hundreds, do you agree?

(408 words)

References:

Bahannon, J. (2016). Who’s downloading pirated papers? Everyone. [Blog] ScienceMag. Available at: http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/04/whos-downloading-pirated-papers-everyone [Accessed 30 Apr. 2017].

Blanchett, H. (2016). An introduction to open access. [online] Jisc. Available at: https://www.jisc.ac.uk/guides/an-introduction-to-open-access [Accessed 25 Apr. 2017].

Geib, A. (2013). Advantages and Disadvantages of Open Access. [Blog] Edanz. Available at: https://www.edanzediting.com/blogs/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-open-access [Accessed 25 Apr. 2017].

Horizon 2020. (2015). Open Science (Open Access) – Horizon 2020 – European Commission. [online] Available at: https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020/en/h2020-section/open-science-open-access [Accessed 25 Apr. 2017].

Openaccess.nl. (2017). Your role. [online] Available at: http://www.openaccess.nl/en/your-role [Accessed 20 Apr. 2017].

Prater, C. (n.d.). 8 Ways to Identify a Questionable Open Access Journal | AJE | American Journal Experts. [online] Aje.com. Available at: http://www.aje.com/en/arc/8-ways-identify-questionable-open-access-journal/ [Accessed 30 Apr. 2017].

Sander, D. (2015). 5 Reasons Music Streaming Services Can Benefit Artists. [Blog] Feauture.fm. Available at: http://www.hypebot.com/hypebot/2015/03/5-reasons-music-streaming-services-can-benefit-artists.html [Accessed 30 Apr. 2017].

Tue.nl. (2017). Advantages and disadvantages of Open Access. [online] Available at: https://www.tue.nl/en/university/library/education-research-support/scientific-publishing/open-access-coach/basic-concepts-and-background/pros-and-cons-of-open-access/ [Accessed 30 Apr. 2017].

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6 thoughts on “Open Access publishing: The pros and cons

  1. Hi Eloane
    Thanks for such an interesting blog post, I really like how you managed to include such a variety of different media in one post! While researching for my blog post, I came across this article by Hylén (2006). Within the article, it is mentioned that some academics do not wish to pursue open access (OA) publishing simply because of a lack of interest in, what Hylén (2006, p.6) describes as, ‘pedagogical innovation’. In other words, they do not see the added value in transitioning to OA. What are your thoughts on this, do you find this believable? Do you think open access should be ratified in university policy to prevent such attitudes? Considering that I also believe the pros outweigh the cons of OA, I might be inclined to respond positively to the latter question. Perhaps this would be the most efficient way to encourage all academics to become ‘digital residents’ of the OA world…
    Brad

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Brad ,
      Thank you for your comment! Had you thought previously about the positive impact free music streaming has on society?
      Referring to your question; it doesn’t come to a surprise for me that academics do not wish to pursue OA. I believe it is hard for institutions who have well received, trustworthy journals to simply make their work freely available when they’re doing well economically and professionally with them already, even with paywalls in place. This Forbes article highlights that young professors would be at a competitive disadvantage with their peers if they chose to publish their research on OA, due to OA providing difficulty in matching impact factors with commercial journals in their field. Consequently, I would also favour commercial journals if i was in the position of a young professor as i would like my research to be well received and matched to my research field, do you agree? Despite OA journals helping students like ourselves a lot in the completion of our work, there is a great deal of paid journals available to us in our university library databases which we can make use of and i guess academics can therefore argue back with that point…
      Eloane

      Like

      1. Hey Eloane, no I hadn’t previously. Although I just commented on Andy’s blog and his reference to social media open access got me thinking about YouTube and the value of video tutorials that are accessible in a matter of seconds. I’m sure music uploads came into play here too in a similar fashion.
        I agree with your response to my question, although I would argue that the impacts for the individual are more important that those for the institution, which links well with the second part of your response. Of course, I would definitely want my research to receive the greatest impact possible. And while students may not be the sole audience of research, I do wonder whether the differential in ‘impact’ would disappear if all journals were to transition to OA. Perhaps this is more of an ideal scenario…
        Either way, digital technologies are evolving so fast that a new innovation may be waiting just around the corner!
        Brad

        Liked by 1 person

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