Skip to content

[ FUTURE OF PUBLISHING ] September 30, 2022

The OSTP memo effects on Open Access, paywalls, and science

In August 2022, the United States government passed a memorandum to ensure free, immediate and equitable access to publicly funded research. What does this mean for Open Access and the scientific community?

The pressures and challenges of making research freely accessible

Open Access means free, immediate, online availability and accessibility of research articles for the public. 

Debate on the Open Access model has riddled the scientific community for years, with some researchers clamoring for a change and others choosing to continue publishing their content in journals with subscription access.

To better understand, we must look at the history of this model. Peer review, publishing, and distribution of research manuscripts have remained an expensive and resource-intensive endeavor. Therefore journals traditionally charge fees for access to the content they publish to compensate for the resource spent in the process. But as science has progressed, digitization and increasing prices of journal subscriptions caused the community to begin demanding a review of public access policies. 

Science research is about discovering and sharing new ideas. But it becomes more complicated when taxpayers fund research and are not able to access its results at the end of the life cycle. This impediment means that academics without access can not teach with these new findings, and researchers would not be able to build upon the idea without having access. 

On the other hand, the cost associated with publishing processes is the major challenge for journals to accept Open Access. Additionally, scientists are sometimes conservative about their scientific and cultural practices, and the reliance on Impact Factor of high-profile journals pushes them to publish in paywall journals.

 

Why is Open Access on the rise?

Democratization of research is vital to the progress of science. It brings the results of research to an unprecedented number of scientists, academics, investors, and students who can build upon these findings to make more discoveries that advance science. 

Unrestricted access to the latest findings helps accelerate dissemination, paving the way for new innovations and breakthroughs impacting society.

 

What does the OSTP memorandum mean for the industry?

 

Impact on publishers

The OSTP memorandum, which applies to US agencies funding research, mandates that all research conducted with government funding be made publicly accessible. It eliminates the 12-month embargo previously placed on publicly funded research. This means that journals and publishers who accept such scholarly articles that fall under this policy must make them openly accessible, which may result in a loss in subscription revenues. This means the publishing market value will take a hit, and publishers will need to transition to more sustainable ways of generating revenue.

 

Impact on researchers

Although publishing in an Open Access journal could mean that the researcher would bear the cost, it has also shown to have greater impacts on researchers.

Since the Open Access model came to play, researchers who embraced the initiative have recorded a massive boost in the visibility they get for their research work. Because world learners can freely access content, it increases citations and career growth and creates opportunities for interdisciplinary collaborations, leading to quicker discoveries.

 

Impact on the public

Open Access promotes public knowledge, transparency, and new innovation. Making research articles freely accessible means that educators can teach with the new knowledge acquired, people in remote regions can access findings to change the way they work, and world learners can develop new ideas.

The OSTP memorandum means that the scientific community and the public can freely engage with scientific endeavors.

 

In conclusion

Open Access is an essential piece of the future of science, but the industry needs to develop a working model that is beneficial to all stakeholders involved.

At Morressier, our technological innovations and research publishing models remove the bottlenecks involved in scholarly publishing while creating revenue opportunities for publishers. Get in touch with our team to learn more about how Morressier is bridging the gaps in Open Access and helping early-stage research find its way to the future.

View of earth from space next to messaging on how infrastruture enables global community