The open access movement offers a number of advantages to people cutting across all sections of society.

Access: Most journals and repositories do not impose access costs on the reader. Thus price barriers are substantially lowered or removed entirely. Authors are thus granted the ability to address a wider audience without the corresponding expenditure. The reach of the articles or materials increases tremendously since readers can retrieve it regardless of their economic status or geographical location.

Immediacy: The research results can be made immediately available to not just others within that community but also those beyond, including other scientists and laypeople.

Stimulating effects : The quick proliferation of results not only enlivens similar research, but also inspires others to make inroads into other areas which may open up as a consequence. Easy access to research material from all fields spurs interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research endeavors.

Impact and citations: Articles tend to have a much bigger impact in the short-term compared to “subscription-only” work. The long-term impact has been found to be similar, with some studies showing a slightly larger impact for open-access articles.

Search options: An article can typically be more easily located if it is in the open-access domain. In particular, searching within the article or recommending and sharing it with others, is facilitated to a great extent.

Modes of availability: In the open-access model, research material need not be restricted to articles only, unlike traditional publishing. Any kind of digital content, including text, images, raw and processed data, audio/video and software can be part of a digital archive.

Author and institution visibility: More readers can become aware of authors who publish in open-access journals as opposed to subscription-only journals. Institutions can enhance their profile by participating in or hosting open-access publishing. Funding agencies supporting the research can achieve more prominence.

Publishing costs: Since open-access publications are usually less expensive to produce and disseminate, both journals and publishers can benefit. In some cases, authors may be required to pay enhanced publication charges. Many traditional publishers have made part of their material open access which has enhanced their visibility and attracted subscriptions.

This post was written by William Stevenson, an English editor with Enago based out of the USA.

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