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Open Access: Why is Open Access important?

Open Access benefits

Benefits to the wider economy and society

When research is held behind a publisher’s paywall, this restricts access to only those who can afford it.

If access to research is made more widely available, then anyone can benefit, from small businesses to schools, NGOs, communities... leading to better value for money for the taxpayer. 

These benefits have led to many funders requiring that the outputs of the research they fund are made available open access.

Researchers and research institutions

Set against a background of rising journal costs and constrained library budgets, the benefits of open access to researchers and research institutions include:

  • Improving reach of research, for example:
    • to researchers in low and middle income countries
    • to the general public
  • Improving quality of research through open, transparent and reproducible research practices
  • Helping to provide evidence for impact, such as influencing policy or practice
  • Improving the reputation of researchers and their host institutions through increased citation
  • Compliance with grant rules

Funder plans for Open Access

Coalition-S and Plan-S website

Due to the slow movement toward open access, European research funders and charities set up Coalition S. This coalition is implementing Plan S which wants to remove paywalls and embargo periods and make research free and available for all to use. To do this they have asked those that receive funding from them to implement the ten Plan S principles.