Open Access: My Experience and Thinking

Open To All

Oct 23, 2018
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This year I published two open access papers (in Nature Communications). I have real feeling that it greatly enhanced the visibility of my research works, thus I do like the way of open access for publications. But in the meantime, as an author, I would have some worries, since the future of open access publishing is still not clear, since most open access journals still have no good impact. I think how largely open access can be accepted by general people mainly depending on how many traditional high impact journals would like to choose open access, which means they would like to lose abundant subscription fees from libraries and audience. The problem is that, in this way, classical high impact journals would have a big loss of profit since they could only publish very limited numbers of articles to keep their reputation. In another scenario, some journals may continuously and limitlessly increase the number of publications to earn money, thus it could be a big risk for authors.

The major reason for an author choosing open access publishing is the reputation/impact of the journal. It’s really nice to see that, owing to the great success of Nature Communications, there are many new journals starting to choose open access publishing. Some traditional journals also give the option of open access for each paper. But if there is no funding (e.g. from the university or research project) to specifically support the cost, the author would hardly like to choose open access for their own paper if they can publish it for free in the same journal. Therefore, it will be truly encouraging if traditional and high impact journals could firmly join the open access community, or for general funds to be offered for open access publishing. 

Considering the cost for open access publishing, I am happy to see that some publishers and universities have made great efforts to relieve the pressure on authors. For example, in the publication of my second Nature Communications paper, our research group has difficulty to finance the publishing cost. But after an inquiring to the publisher, they gave us a significant discount, and our university library (Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Dresden, SLUB) covered the leftover with special funding for open access publishing. Thus I feel grateful to both the publisher and the university library. I am not sure if other journals and institute/universities have such strategies, but they are helpful to make open access way easier for authors.

Tao Zhang

Dr., TU Dresden

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