I came across this wonderfully written article from Steve Lawrence of NEC Research Institute and decided to repost it here as a blog with my views…
“Articles freely available online are more highly cited. For greater impact and faster scientific progress, authors and publishers should aim to make research easy to access.”
Scientiﬁc literature typically far exceeds the ability of scientists to identify and utilize all relevant information in their research. Developing methods to improve accessibility of scientiﬁc literature, allowing scientists to locate more relevant research within a given time, have the potential to dramatically improve communication and progress in science.
With the development of web, scientists now have very convenient access to an increasing amount of literature that previously required trips to the library, inter-library loan delays, or substantial effort in locating the source. Studies shows that usage increases when access is more convenient, and maximizing the usage of the scientiﬁc record beneﬁts all of society.
Although availability varies greatly by discipline, over a million research articles are freely available on the web. Some journals and conferences provide free access online, others allow authors to post articles on the web, and others allow authors to purchase the right to post their articles on the web.
Free online availability facilitates access in multiple ways, including online archives, direct connections between scientists or research groups, hassle-free links from email, discussion groups, and other services, indexing by web search engines, and the creation of third-party search services. Free online availability of scientiﬁc literature offers substantial beneﬁts to science and society. To maximize impact, minimize redundancy, and speed scientiﬁc progress, author and publishers should aim to make research easy to access.
In today’s world of publishing it is true. It is highly unjustified that a researcher should pay to publish his own article and question is why? We should aim to have a system where knowledge is free, access to research article is free, and publishing research article is free. After all, the author spends a tremendous amount of his time and effort researching and writing about his research.
Free access gives an opportunity of free collaborations amongst the researchers, which in effect will result into better research and better writing and hence a better community. We all should all aim towards free access to knowledge.