Who benefits from open access? Knowledge Base

As knowledge is brought to the wider public through open access it empowers positive change. Yet much questioning persists surrounding the importance of open access, so just how does it create positive change? Who truly benefits from the rise of open access publishing?

You (as an author)

Open access helps bring research to the widest possible readership; any researcher can see, share and cite your studies, assisting you in forging new research connections. It offers the traditional advantages of subscription journals, the same rigorous feedback and high quality peer review, ensuring that publication ethics are upheld. But open access publication is fast and straightforward, saving you time, and Creative Commons licensing means your article is shared as widely as possible, whilst you retain copyright and receive full credit. Supplementary material – including datasets, videos and images – can be published with your work, with no limits on word counts. So you can send us anything you feel is relevant and important in explaining the full research story. But just how do these advantages come full circle to benefit you and who else really stands to benefit from open access publishing?

You (as a researcher)

As an academic, you benefit from having the widest body of citable studies available but don’t always have access to what you need. As more and more mandates worldwide encourage the submission of manuscripts to open access repositories and journals, the amount of research accessible increases. The more easily existing research can be built upon, the more readily scientific, societal and cultural insights flourish, helping inform and direct existing research enquiries – as well as developing new avenues of thought. There is scope for more work to be published, including any studies with negative findings, so duplication is better avoided. New opportunities for collaboration also become possible. Your research becomes visible to other academics – and vice versa – fuelling discovery and innovation. Just as you and other researchers reap the advantages of open access, your academic institution can, too.

You (as part of a university)

In order to facilitate continual growth of knowledge, academic institutions, professors and students need access to theoretical literature. No institution can access the content of all the subscription journals in the world. For universities in developing countries, funds for subscription journals will be limited. Open access – enabling the free dissemination of information – helps address the imbalance. Researchers and students profit from the availability of research literature and as discoveries are shared beyond the academic community, others are drawn into the manifold benefits of open access, too.

You (as part of the wider public)

Open access means that members of the wider community can freely tap into the findings of your research. So what happens when policies are drafted with guiding evidence from your very topic of scientific research? Or when an individual in distress needs information pertaining to the very field of psychology you’ve been researching? We live in an age of information, and individuals with increased access to learning become better equipped to make intellectual connections, professional judgements and personal choices. When research is published open access, academia is better positioned to play its part influencing decision-making across fields of industry and in the lives of the wider public. In choosing open access, you, too, are part of a positive change.

You (as part of a bigger story)

We are all beneficiaries of information, and knowledge grows out of interconnectivity. The essence of open access reflects this: that knowledge is continuously built upon and subject to change. Any information we have guides perception, develops intellect, informs judgments, propels to action. So it is essential people are properly supplied with it. We must consider what this may mean for academia, seeing possibilities from an increasingly dynamic digital landscape that is helping us share information in unprecedented ways. The Internet has propelled us into a time where learning can be shared at an instant, at the click of a button and across continents. It has irrevocably changed how we access our information – how we connect, share facts, ideas and insights. Open access addresses these matters for the academic community. The real benefits, however, can start with you – and they can come full circle.

Take a look at our full list of journals here and discover out how easy it is to publish your research open access for an international readership with the Cogent Series.