One argument in favor of Open Access publication of peer reviewed research articles has been that consumers, patients and other non‐specialist groups should have direct access to information that can affect their lives and health, and that their own tax money has in many instances supported. To counter this opinion, others have argued that this notion is highly misguided as non‐specialists are unable to read and interpret the results described in such publications; open access would create confusion rather than clarification. Between these two polarities – one suggesting a quick and easy fix and the other opining all is impossible – there lays a more nuanced and realistic picture.

This presentation will investigate the costs and benefits, opportunities and barriers of delivering free access to scholarly research articles (Open Access publications) for the general public. Borrowing from business practices, the authors conduct a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis as a basis for delineating parameters for moving forward realistically with delivering peer reviewed scholarship to the general public. The presentation will build on the case of the Swedish Nutrition Foundation and its decision to transition Food & Nutrition Research (formerly Scand Jnl of Food & Nutrition) to an open access model in order to better meet the needs of the public and others, as well as on a selection of other examples of Open Access and Toll Access journals and knowledge environments. Current literature on the issue and the discourse on whether to free research for the public or not will also inform the SWOT analysis, as will literature on communications in the web 2.0 environment.

The authors conclude that it is indeed possible to provide free access to scientific articles, and that there are compelling reasons and pressures to do so. This will require meeting financial, social and competence‐based challenges, as well as a better understanding of potential user groups, their habits and how to meet their needs. Co‐operation between researchers, publishers, journalists, information specialists, IT‐experts and others will be critical to success.

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 [PCST]
PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Free public access to scientific articles
Costs & benefits, opportunities & barriers

Caroline Sutton   Co‐Action Publishing

Anne Bindslev   Co‐Action Publishing

Lena Wistrand   Co‐Action Publishing

One argument in favor of Open Access publication of peer reviewed research articles has been that consumers, patients and other non‐specialist groups should have direct access to information that can affect their lives and health, and that their own tax money has in many instances supported. To counter this opinion, others have argued that this notion is highly misguided as non‐specialists are unable to read and interpret the results described in such publications; open access would create confusion rather than clarification. Between these two polarities – one suggesting a quick and easy fix and the other opining all is impossible – there lays a more nuanced and realistic picture.

This presentation will investigate the costs and benefits, opportunities and barriers of delivering free access to scholarly research articles (Open Access publications) for the general public. Borrowing from business practices, the authors conduct a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis as a basis for delineating parameters for moving forward realistically with delivering peer reviewed scholarship to the general public. The presentation will build on the case of the Swedish Nutrition Foundation and its decision to transition Food & Nutrition Research (formerly Scand Jnl of Food & Nutrition) to an open access model in order to better meet the needs of the public and others, as well as on a selection of other examples of Open Access and Toll Access journals and knowledge environments. Current literature on the issue and the discourse on whether to free research for the public or not will also inform the SWOT analysis, as will literature on communications in the web 2.0 environment.

The authors conclude that it is indeed possible to provide free access to scientific articles, and that there are compelling reasons and pressures to do so. This will require meeting financial, social and competence‐based challenges, as well as a better understanding of potential user groups, their habits and how to meet their needs. Co‐operation between researchers, publishers, journalists, information specialists, IT‐experts and others will be critical to success.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

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