Traditional publishing model which is printing as a book is so complex because you have to consider the details, color and figure etc. With our life starts to enter the digital era, printing books are replaced by internet books gradually. For us, it is the better way because it is more convenience that we don’t have to go to the library or buy the book anymore. However, I believe there are many people once found references for report but discovered many academic articles need to be paid. As what Stephen Lepitak mentioned in his article, 90% of online content to be held behind paywalls in three years media company survey suggests which means it is possible that we may use any article need to be paid in the future. But actually, open access came up many years ago. And is it good or bad?
From Public Library of Science official site the benefit of opening access are divided by three main parts which are accelerated discovery, public enrichment and improved education. Literally, open access is easy for researchers to read articles without restriction. And public enrichment means much scientific and medical research is paid for with public funds. Open Access allows taxpayers to see the results of their investment.
Here is a example from ‘Open Access Explained!’ video. The man’s wife is in hospital and the man wanted to search on the internet and tried to find out the particular medical treatment but couldn’t get access to the papers. However the doctor neither know the answer of these questions. In this case, how could this man make the treatment decision? And if this man paid the access to the articles but he didn’t know which articles are relevant but there is not return policy. Therefore, probably this man spend a lot of money but don’t find any relevant article. It is unfair to a man who is eager to his wife get better. So I think open access is very important that allows taxpayers to see the results of their investment. From my point of view, the most important advantage is improve education. The lack of access to journals is a commonly cited problem for researchers in low-income countries. People in low-income countries are really struggle to get access, let alone be able to contribute fully or do world-class research. Opening access can provide people in low-income countries with opportunity to participate in the international research community(Adam Geib, 2013). Only in this way the developing countries can develop faster.
However, in open access model, the end users do not need to pay for using which means not only authors have to afford the cost but the large portion of their revenue comes from publication fees also disappear. Authors will lose motivation to research and result in the negative impact on overall quality(Adam Geib, 2013). In my opinion, I think government should afford the cost and contribute the service for people. It is also be responsible with taxpayers.
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Piled Higher and Deeper, 25 October 2012, Open Access Explained!
Stephen Lepitak, 12 April 2013, 90% of online content to be held behind paywalls in three years media company survey suggests
Benefits of Open Access Journals
Adam Geib, 25 October 2013, Advantages and Disadvantages of Open Access