Open Access: the way to go

Image of pages flying free from open book

Image: Shevs/

A report* just published by the Universities UK Open Access Coordination Group has come up with some interesting findings.

  • Open Access (OA) articles are downloaded from publishers’ sites more than non-OA articles: perhaps between 2× and 4× more
  • The proportion of UK-authored articles published OA rose from 12% in 2012 to 30% in 2016, an annual growth rate of over 30%
  • The proportion of all articles accessible immediately on publication has risen globally from 18% in 2014 to 24% in 2016, and in the UK from 20% to 37%

Publishing OA is increasing and is, I believe, the “way to go”. As Professor Adam Tickell says in his Foreword to the report, “It is therefore right that we are undergoing a transition towards open access (OA) in the UK...”.

That transition is, I believe, a global one and important for the future of the publication of scientific research. The report’s findings add to the strong evidence of the value in publishing your research OA, and I hope JSI—Journal of Spectral Imaging is high on your list of journals to consider. You can be sure that you are publishing with a journal that ensures quality at every stage of the publishing process. For the time being, we continue to waive any publication fees, making it even easier to publish OA.

However, there is a less positive side to some OA journals; one which it is important to remember. A number of organisations and individual journals do not follow the usual standards of peer-review publishing. Recently, a US District Court has granted a preliminary injunction against a large OA journal publisher and conference organiser in response to a complaint by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the US. The complaint concerned “unfair and deceptive practices with respect to the publication of online academic journals and organization of scientific conferences”. I raised some concerns about unethical or “predatory” journals in a recent blog post. The problem is not going to go away for a while, so be vigilant!

*The complete report can be downloaded from here.