Thursday, March 31, 2011

Open Access and Open Journal Publishing: Winds of change are profound !!

Dear friends,

I came across an interesting article in PLoS Medicine March 2011 issue that discusses open access publishing. Dr. Subbaiah Arunachalam, a co-author of this article is a pioneer in promoting open access in India. He has always advocated and supported open access for academic journals. The article highlights are, quote:
  • Unequal access to and distribution of public knowledge is governed by Northern standards and is increasingly inappropriate in the age of the networked “Invisible College”.
  • Academic journals remain the primary distribution mechanism for research findings, but commercial journals are largely unaffordable for developing countries; local journals—more relevant to resolving problems in the South—are near-invisible and under-valued.
  • Donor solutions are unsustainable, are governed by markets rather than user needs, and instil dependency.
  • Open access is sustainable and research driven and builds independence and the capacity to establish a strong research base; it is already converting local journals to international journals.
  • However, as open access becomes the norm, standards for the assessment of journal quality and relevance remain based on Northern values that ignore development needs and marginalise local scholarship. 

Prior to publication of this article, Dr. Arunachalam, along with his co-authors Leslie Chan and Barabara Kirsop has guest blogged on Speaking of Medicine: PLOS Medicine Community Blog regarding withdrawal of journal access by commercial publishers, its after-effects, and alternatives like open access and open publishing. The blog post was entitled "Withdrawal of journal access is a wake-up call for researchers in the developing world". Indeed!! Researchers need to understand the fact that if they wish to generate more visibility to their research and ideas, they need to turn to open journal publishing models and not resort to commercial publishing.

I observe, open journal publishing trend is also like open source software that was not welcomed and accepted a few years ago. Today, the winds of change are profound. So much so that the community of librarians have embraced the open source software to its core. I, as one of such kind, strongly support and vouch for anything open and free of monopoly. Being an experienced professional, I have always tried to publish my views and observations in peer-reviewed open access journals as a modest initiative. Most of the open access journal initiatives are now supported by giants like PLoS (Public Library of Science), MedInd etc. and are peer-reviewed. They are sure to have good impact factors and so also the authors will enjoy good citation ranking.

So, authors, researchers and passionate writers please switch over to open journal publishing and increase and improve your visibility. The time is NOW and YOU are the Change!!

Happy publishing!!


  1. I subscribe to this idea. Just wishing for a faster transformation now!

  2. The contents are really good…