Science has always relied on an open exchange of knowledge and information. However, scientific journals have faced harsh criticism for limiting the openness of this exchange. As a result, the open access format is slowly becoming the ruling trend in scientific publishing.
Scientific journal paywalls and paper hacking
Scientific journals were originally created to disseminate scientific information. Nevertheless, as the world of academic publishing grew, some publishers began to charge readers ever-growing fees for access to their content. At first, these fees – also known as paywalls – primarily affected researchers who weren’t associated with major universities or research labs. However, even the world’s wealthiest universities soon began to struggle to afford the costs of academic journal subscriptions.
Despite these financial difficulties, researchers required access to scientific articles in order to stay up to date with the latest developments in their field. This led to the emergence of “paper hacking” platforms, such as Sci-hub and Library Genesis, which provide free universal access to vast amounts of paywalled articles. The main issue with these platforms is that most scientific journals hold the copyright on their paywalled content, which has resulted in several legal disputes.
The open access format
Efforts to tackle the root cause of the paywall problem have also been gaining steam. Several organizations, universities, and funding agencies have joined in a concerted effort to promote open access publishing. In its current configuration, the open access format seeks to remove the burden of payment from the reader by publishing all scientific articles under an open licence.
Even though there is still much debate surrounding this issue, current trends seem to favour making open access the default format, and it’s easy to understand why. Open access provides researchers free access to the information they need, and provide authors with a larger audience. Importantly, this larger audience is no longer restricted to wealthy academia, also including non-academic researchers, start-up labs, the developing world, and the general public.
For those who want to seize the opportunity to share their research with the growing audience of scholarly journals, Scite can help. Scite can work with you through the data analysis, manuscript writing, and journal selection processes to facilitate your journey into scientific publishing.