Guest Blog: Why I Publish Open Access

Simon Herald | BioMed Central | December 6, 2012

Joshua Drew, a lecturer in marine conservation biology at Columbia University, offers a personal perspective on Open Access publishing from a researcher’s point of view. Having now moved to a policy of publishing entirely in Open Access journals, he talks to BioMed Central about the benefits that this can bring to researchers wishing to get the most from their publications, together with some of the challenges that lie ahead

Open Access publishing is poised to revolutionize how science is conducted. Movement towards this publishing model will have downstream ramifications for how science is funded, collaborations established and how science is communicated. Ultimately Open Access publishing will force researchers to revaluate how we prioritize our limited resources. I believe that should researchers make a concerted effort to publish in Open Access formats we can maximize the returns on these resources.

Decreasing funding rates from federal and non-governmental agencies have forced researchers to closely evaluate how finite funds are allocated. With a shift to a user pays model, authors are now forced to allocate not insubstantial funds to publishing charges.  While this is nothing new – page charges have been around for decades – the ubiquity of Open Access fees means that researchers must budget in several thousand dollars for publication.* One way this pressure may be alleviated is by altering the funding structure of grant proposals.  By researchers explicitly requesting funds for publication in Open Access formats they can make the case that their outcomes will reach a broader audience and have a greater influence.  Of course simply asking for more money may not be the most reliable strategy and more autochthonous methods of reallocation may be in order. This may result in scientists publishing fewer but more elaborate papers, publishing with more partners (thus spreading the publishing cost over a greater field of authors) or choosing to publish with journals that have fixed yearly costs...