Conference Paper: Claims About Benefits of Open Access to Society (Beyond Academia)

Citation: Elhassan Elsabry. (2017). Claims About Benefits of Open Access to Society (Beyond Academia). In Expanding Perspectives on Open Science: Communities, Cultures and Diversity in Concepts and Practices: Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Electronic Publishing. Chan, L., & Loizides, F., eds. IOS Press: 34-43. (link)

This study aims to fill a gap in the literature by figuring out the benefits of OA outside of academia.

As the author notes, few studies have been carried out in this area, largely because it’s difficult to gather these data, and–to a certain extent–difficult to even figure out what the benefits might be.

Although the author does intend to try and measure the success of these benefits at some point in the future, this study does not attempt that. Rather, it consists of a review of OA documents (statements and OA declarations; government policies; editorials in journals about OA) to find what they consider “the purpose behind supporting Open Access” (35).

For each of these documents, the author selects keywords about either the benefits of OA or who the beneficiaries of OA are. (The figures in the article are a little unclear about which is being measured, as the first is set out differently than the second and third.)

Interestingly–although perhaps not surprisingly–the author’s study found some differences between the various groups.

While journal editors focus more on benefits to “researchers themselves (e.g. citations, visibility, copyright ownership, etc.)” government policies care more about benefits like “globalization of science, reproducibility, transparency, etc.” (42).

Although the results are interesting, the study doesn’t share any particular insights about them or about OA in general. This is perhaps to be expected from this sort of preliminary study, but it is nonetheless a little disappointing.