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Why Students support Open Access

RESEARCH IS AN ESSENTIAL PART OF EDUCATION
You know first hand that students are expected to cite articles from scholarly journals when they write research papers.

 

You’ve probably used journal articles in your coursework. You’ve probably also encountered journal articles that you wanted to read — potentially important articles — but couldn’t get access to.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

 

OPEN ACCESS — the principle that research should be accessible online, for free, immediately after publication — is improving the way scholarly information is shared.

 

You’re not able to access some of the articles you want to read online because many scholarly journals are available only to subscribers. Journal subscriptions — especially in science, technology, and medicine — can cost thousands of dollars each year, and some cost more than $20,000.(1) Your library pays for many of these subscriptions (with support in part from your tuition) and some universities actually spend millions of dollars annually on journals — but they still can’t afford access to everything their students and faculty need.

 

There’s an alternative to the closed, subscription access model: Open Access. Open Access is free, unrestricted access on the Internet to the same type of high-quality, peer-reviewed scholarship that is available by subscription. Authors can make their articles openly accessible by publishing in an open-access journal or posting copies of their articles on an open Web site or repository after they’ve been published in a traditional journal.

 

With Open Access, the costs of publishing an article are covered by other sources — with sponsorships, publication fees, advertising, or a wide variety of possible combinations — so that everyone in the world can read the latest research online without paying an access fee. That’s why so many researchers, libraries, and universities support Open Access, and why more authors and journals continue to make the switch. (See “Open Access in Operation,” below).

 

Students — who read, rely on, and write for scholarly publications — have the power to change the way research is exchanged.

Get behind Open Access to improve access to research — and make your life and work as a student easier.

1. The 2008 annual subscription price for the journal Brain Research is $21,744.

 

What does Open Access do for students?

 

SCHOOLWORK IS EASIER

 

It’s a familiar story: You’re writing a paper for class and you need to cite articles from peer-reviewed journals. Eventually, you find an article that looks good — maybe via a search engine, a footnote from another source, or a reference in an index. You search the Web for the full text, but you can’t get past the abstract. You look on your library’s Web site but they don’t have a subscription. You’re stuck. Maybe that article would have been a major source for your work — you’ll never know. You don’t have access.

Open Access changes that. No more worrying about whether you’re on the campus network or if your library has a subscription. If you’re online, you have access, period — anywhere in the world.

 

Open Access puts research instantly at the fingertips of anyone who cares to read. Researchers can find and access any relevant work from anywhere in the world with no price barrier. That means science and discovery will advance faster.
EVERYONE HAS ACCESS

 

Open Access isn’t just for students and academics. With Open Access, everyone can read the latest research. Think of how important that could be to:

 

• A patient looking for information on a treatment his or her doctor has ordered or on a trial of a drug that could treat a disease…
• A small business startup researching the latest related technological developments…
• Any one of us interested in better understanding global warming.

Just as the Internet has democratized information, Open Access will promote sharing knowledge for the public good.

 

Any subject you might think of — anything at all — you can look it up on Google or Yahoo! and learn about it. Open Access adds a massive inventory of reliable, scholarly sources to that free global library — quality ensured by the process of peer review.

 

No more worrying about whether you’re on the campus network or if your library has a subscription. If you’re online, you have access, period.
RESEARCH IS ADVANCED

 

Conducting research is expensive. No researcher wants to waste time and money conducting a study if they know it has been attempted elsewhere. But, duplication of effort is all-too-possible when researchers can’t effectively communicate with one another and make results known to others in their field and beyond. Consider, also, how much faster discovery can happen with open access to all available research.

 

Researchers on the World Health Organization’s pandemic flu taskforce said exactly this. How could they effectively research and fight this virus without access to available data?(1) Open Access puts research instantly at the fi ngertips of anyone who cares to read. Researchers can find and
access any relevant work from anywhere in the world with no price barrier. That means science and discovery will advance faster.

 

1. Branswell, Helen. (September 26, 2006) “Experts urge WHO to get countries on side for routine H5N1 virus sharing.” Canadian Press.

Open Access adds a massive inventory of reliable, scholarly sources to that free global library — quality ensured by the process of peer review.
BETTER VISIBILITY FOR YOUR SCHOLARSHIP

 

You may be thinking of going into academia. If so, you’ll be writing publishable papers someday — if you aren’t already. Maybe you’re the editor
of a student journal. When you choose Open Access, you make your work available to anyone who might search for your topic. That means more readers, more recognition, and more impact for your ideas. In fact, recent studies have shown that open-access articles are cited by other authors more frequently than comparable articles that aren’t openly available.(2)

2. Eysenbach, G. (May 16, 2006). “Citation Advantage of Open Access Articles,” PLoS Biology Vol. 4, No. 5.

 

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OPEN ACCESS IN OPERATION

Here are just a few examples of the thousands of outlets that provide open access to research:

• arXiv (launched in 1991)
• Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (1995)
• AgEcon Search (1997)
• Public Library of Science (2000)
• BMC Cell Biology (2000)
• Directory of Open Access Journals (2002)
• Repository 66.org Repository Maps mashup (2007)

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Adapted from SPARC (2008). “The Right to Research: The student guide to opening access to research.” Retrieved September 25, 2009: http://www.arl.org/sparc/bm%7Edoc/rr2008_pages.pdf

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