…Academics themselves can also do a lot to promote open access. The obvious first step is to simply publish new research in open access journals, or in journals that offer a paid open access choice. This can be to the authorâ??s benefit, as studies have suggested that freely available articles may have a higher impact than closed ones…
Another straightforward option is to publicly archive all published work. Apart from a few restrictions, this is completely allowed by a surprising number of journals – including Science and Nature – and actually mandated by many funding bodies. The SHERPA organisation maintains an excellent website, which details individual publisher and funding body open access policies.
Many academics simply archive their work on personal websites, but other options exist. Some disciplines already have popular public archives, such as the physics repository, www.arXiv.org. Most papers in this field are posted on â??the archiveâ?? well before being accepted in a journal, with no apparent detriment to the publishers. Many academic institutions also maintain their own archiving facilities. Here at the University of Edinburgh, staff and students can archive their own work in the Edinburgh Research Archive. The technophobic can also get library staff to deposit work on their behalf….
[A] small, but growing, fraction of scholarly work is now freely available to anyone with a connection to the web. In the age of Wikipedia we have no shortage of instantly accessible information but, sadly, facts and figures are not always backed by expert opinion. The open access movement aims to remedy this by making scholarly knowledge available and accessible – to all who wish to find it.