One of the reasons people advocate for open access publishing is the idea that the article will receive more citations — and thus the author will be able to show a greater scholarly impact. Three University of Minnesota librarians decided to investigate whether the evidence supported this idea. They ended up winning a Medical Library Association Award for their work.
The phrase “Open Access” refers to published scholarly research — often shorter form articles or papers, but also longer form open monographs. By contrast, the phrase “Open Educational Resources” tends to be used to refer to open textbooks and other course materials like question banks, handouts, or worksheets.
Open access publications ensure broad access to research because open access publications can be read by anyone with an internet connection — free of any fee for the reader. At the Libraries, we have been providing infrastructure for open access projects, investing in collaborative projects on national and international scales, and supporting the University’s information needs on these topics for well over a decade.
As we continue our celebration of Open Access Week 2020, we move to an exploration of what COVID-19 has meant for scholarly publishing and open access. While Important research — including COVID-19 research — often is behind paywalls, there have been some promising developments over the last decade to make research more available. But more work is needed.
Open Access Week’s theme for 2020, “Taking Action to Build Structural Equity and Inclusion,” provides an opportunity to reflect on the value of information as a commodity. We will explore this issue in the context of the move towards electronic content and conglomeration of the publishing system.