Open access refers to the ability to freely access a scholarly article from anywhere in the world, without the need for a journal subscription.
Removing the subscription barrier has been shown to increase the visibility of scholarship, with a corresponding increase in citation rates in many fields. Open access takes a variety of forms, including institutional or discipline-specific repositories for pre-prints; mandates requiring specific government-funded research articles to be placed in PubMed Central; and born-digital open access journals. All of these forms can enhance the distribution of knowledge and broaden the impact of scholarship.
Open access publishers like BioMed Central and the Public Library of Science (PLOS) show that open access is fully compatible with peer-review, high quality editing and publishing, and journal impact factors. Open access journals are fairly new, but many are developing a good reputation, and in some cases are replacing traditional journals as the desired place to publish.
Paywall: The Business of Scholarship (September 2018) was produced by Jason Schmitt at Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY.
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