The Hook or Crook of Open Access

In recent years there has been much discussion between publishing community, librarians and the research fraternity about the potential benefits of free access to research information. Like two sides of a coin, open access also has two sides to it. Let us discuss some pros and cons of the open access model here.

Let’s Discuss the Advantages First –

  1. Most positive aspect of open access model is – it is free for reader community. People in favour of open access state that free availability of research articles will ensure wider dissemination and thus benefiting science and research fraternity.
  2. Another advantage deriving community is libraries. The open access model is beneficial for libraries in a situation where they are forced to cut down on subscriptions due to increased charges.
  3. Increased readership – Under this model authors are able to share their research to wider audience available online, thus increasing readership because it is freely available to readers.
  4. Advantage for developing countries- Open access is a boon for researchers from developing countries where access to subscription based journals is an issue. Open access helps such researchers and scientists to have access to international research community with either waived or free publication fee.

Now Let’s Have a Look on Disadvantages Also – 

  1. Not free for author- though it is free for readers, authors have to pay for publishing. Thus proving there are no free lunches. This causes researchers and authors to discourage open access.
  2. Compromise on quality- it is argued that since open access benefits journals by publishing more articles, as majority of profit is coming from publication. Thus they encourage more articles, in turn destroying the quality of the article.
  3. Sustainability – It is argued whether an open access model can support research publication infrastructure over the long term, thus raising question over its sustainability.

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