Petr Kosina, CIMMYT manager of knowledge, information and training, has recently been promoting Open-Access (OA) publishing through meetings and presentations. OA publishing refers to unrestricted online access to scientific publications (no need to subscribe to the scholarly journal or pay per article or book). Why is Open Access important for you and for CIMMYT?
Published research results and ideas are the foundation for future progress in science. Open Access publishing leads to wider readership and dissemination of information, particularly to our large audiences in developing countries without the means to pay for expensive journal subscriptions, by providing:
Open Access to ideas: Making papers freely available online provides all scientists with the most current peer-reviewed scientific information and discoveries.
Open Access to the broadest audience: As a researcher, publishing in an open access journal allows anyone with an interest in your work to read it, which translates into increased usage and impact.
OA articles can be published in two ways, in Open Access Journals (OAJ), or by paying copyrighted journals. Indeed, OA publishing may mean some additional cost for authors (from hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on length of the article and the quality of the journal). However, the cost of publishing is able to be bypassed as most of our donors are ready to accept project proposals with funds allocated to OA publishing. As a matter of fact some of our donors are even demanding it. An example of such is the UK Department for International Development. As well, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is currently discussing the need for OA publications.
Thus, OA publishing is here to stay, and something that we at CIMMYT should consider as a viable alternative to the traditional publishing model. There are already some OA publishing examples in CIMMYT e.g. the GMP research team including Raman Babu and Yunbi Xu has published article in PLoS ONE.
There are currently several thousands of OAJ in many areas of science, and many of them have high impact factors e.g. PLOS Genetics (8.8) or PLOS Biology (12.6)