Michael Eisen, a genetics and genomics professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and a co-founder of PLOS (Public Library of Science), is promoting open access to scientific research. According to him, in reality, only scientists from the largest, well-funded universities in developed countries have full access to published researches (ReasonTV, 2017). Science journal publishers have made $ 10 billion in total over the past year, mostly from research libraries, which pay $ 2,000 to $ 35,000 yearly subscriptions for each journal, unless they buy kits worth millions of dollars (ReasonTV, 2017). There is a perception that open access is unnecessary and may even be harmful. In this case, the argument is a potential threat to the institution of peer review (Eveleth, 2014). It has a similar rationale with the so-called risk of demotivation, which forms the basis of the ideological justification for the concept of intellectual property.
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However, open access does not mean permission to change scientific articles, but only free, unrestricted ability to read them. It is customary to maintain the invariability of the original text and associate it with a specific author. Despite certain negative points and difficulties in evaluating information, open access to research results is essential.
Adherents to open access argue that as people’s taxes sponsor most of the surveys, they should have access to scientific research data. Many people are interested in the subjects of various scientific studies. It stimulates scientific progress, productivity, knowledge transfer. Accelerating the innovation process is beneficial as pupils and students can receive information that is critically important for their further studying. Most of the audience of scientific articles consists of other researchers. Open access helps them as well by providing an opportunity to study articles in journals not subscribed to by their libraries. Scientists from developing countries where there are universities that do not subscribe to scientific journals are most beneficial. Subscription programs are open specifically for them at reduced prices or for free. The overall benefit is evident, as no library can afford to subscribe to all scientific journals. Open access expands the range of knowledge beyond the academic school. People, including scientists, politicians, civil servants, and everyone interested in a specific topic, can use all these sources for different purposes such as further research and self-education.
Eveleth, R. (2014). Free access to science research doesn’t benefit everyone. The Atlantic. Web.
ReasonTV. (2017). How open-access journals are transforming science [Video]. YouTube. Web.