Open Access concerns all of us! Part 1 – Researchers, universities and citizens

Open Access is a wonderful opportunity for researchers, innovators, teachers, students, media professionals and the general public. It encourages the circulation of knowledge on a planetary scale and thus contributes to academic and scientific discoveries, innovation and socio-economic development (UNESCO Declaration, 2012).

Open Access for researchers and universities

It has now been proven that publications deposited on Open Access are cited much more than those which are less accessible because they have to be paid for. At the level of ORBi, an article deposited on Open Access is downloaded on average 2 times more than those on restricted access.

The advantage of OA in terms of impact for researchers is thus undeniable and testified (see the studies carried out by Open Citation Project), but there are many other benefits as well.

  • Besides the valorization of the Institution’s research output, Open Access reduces the significant expenditure it has to consent to in order to allow its users to have access to the quality academic and scientific information essential to carry out their work. It also contributes to its basic mission, in other words the sharing of knowledge.
  • Open Access renders research even more effective in facilitating contact between researchers, in making documentary research more rapid, enabling redundancy in research to be avoided or in granting researchers immediate and thus more rapid access to information, which constitutes a very big plus in numerous research fields.
  • With OA there is also a trend to refocus on the researchers themselves in terms of evaluation. A panel of measuring tools is now available and allows a more complete appraisal of the impact of their publications. These indicators are linked to a real use of their documents (visualization rates and download rates, etc.) and are not solely restricted to an evaluation of the journals in which they publish.
  • Finally, research results are now accessible to a wider public which would not otherwise have had the means of obtaining them without OA, in particular the countries of the South which do not always have the means (technological or financial) to gain access to research documentation.

Open Access for the citizens

  • Public research institutions are in part funded by the taxes paid by the citizens. It would thus make commonsense if what was produced within them was made accessible to the public and not serve to fund the business model of certain publishers at the expense of research. The philosophy of Open Access is also to attain a fair distribution of the resources which allow this research to be carried out. Even the people who are not directly affected by academic and scientific literature will benefit from the indirect effects of Open Access through the researchers who for their part benefit directly from it and use it to the advantage of all of us.
  • OA moreover constitutes a genuine economic plus: be it terms in of reducing the costs of research or in creating links between institutions and innovative business companieswhich create jobs and stimulate the economy.

See also

To follow tomorrow…Open Access concerns all of us! Part 2 – What is the situation for publishers?