The open access movement has shaken up the publishing landscape. In traditional publishing, research literature could only be accessed through a subscription or individual payments. Open access literature, in contrast, is freely available online for the general public, and often has few or no copyright restrictions on its use and reuse. This affords many benefits: research is available to more readers, authors get to retain certain rights, and research can be disseminated and built upon much faster. Over 90,000 articles were published for immediate open access in 2020 (Open Access 2020 Initiative [OA2020], 2020). What else has been happening with open access? Here are a couple of updates.
More than 130 transformative agreements, compliant with ESAC guidelines, have been signed to date, representing 19 countries and 32 publishers. These are intended to help organizations transition from a subscription model to open access publishing. cOAlition S, a consortium of funders including the Wellcome Trust, the World Health Organization, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has put out a statement saying that, after January 1, 2021, it will no longer financially support agreements that do not adhere to these guidelines (OA2020, 2020).
Preprints (the version of an article that is pre-peer review and -acceptance to a journal) have also made the news this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. With so much unknown about the virus, research couldn’t get published fast enough, and many have been utilizing preprints to get information on it. Servers like medRxiv and MedRN contain a wealth of information on COVID-19 and other conditions. The National Library of Medicine also announced their NIH Preprint Pilot in June, pulling in preprints from preprint servers so that they can be searched in PubMed.
Now more than ever, having freely available research is vital, and open access helps make this possible.
Open Access 2020 Initiative. (2020). OA2020 progress report. Retrieved from https://oa2020.org/progress-report/