Since the 1940s, the number of journal articles has grown dramatically, with a larger variety of titles and topics presented. Additionally, journal articles have now become digital, providing easier access with additional features. This in turn enables a larger and more informed range of academic discourse, which is essential to scholars.
Researchers and scholars give away the results and conclusions of their research, usually in peer reviewed journal articles, to enable others to benefit from the work and build on it, thus the academic’s work is recognised and provides impact; the academic’s goal. Enter open access. Open access can be perceived as a philosophical change or simply an alternate business model. Open access refers to free access and the re-use of journal articles. The two types of open access are: gratis open access, where a journal article is free of charge, and libre open access where the journal article is free and some or all restrictions of re-use, for example, translating, have been detached. The UK’s Finch Report, followed by the Research Council’s UK have recommended the gold route of open access in 2012. The European Union demanded all research produced from the billion-euro 2020 Horizon research program to be made available in either gold or green routes and the government agencies of the United States were to create an open access plan which appears to be green. As individuals, and as a society, one gains the most when researchers can use the results without the hindrance of economic barriers, or barriers of any nature.
The invention of open access academic journal articles has been a threat to the status quo of journalistic publishing; a threat to the reliable business model. Dabbling in open access journal articles by new and established publishers, such as The Economist, with the support provided by research bodies and policy makers is enabling expansion of growth, and the distribution of knowledge.
If an academic believes their journal articles would benefit from open access publishing, one must consider the audience one is aiming for. Most researchers are likely to be working at a university, and if the journal is not too niche, they will most likely be able to access the journal articles from their online resources as soon as it is made obtainable. So, overall, the benefits of open access journals are very significant in the academia.