The Benefits of Open Access

 

Following on from last month’s blog about RADAR’s open access download statistics we thought we would look further into the benefits of open access for GSA researchers.

Firstly, you may be wondering what exactly is ‘open access’?

Put simply, Open Access (OA) is online access to research outputs, which are free for anyone to view, read, download and reuse without the need to log in or make a payment.

Many researchers attach creative commons licenses to the outputs they make OA via RADAR (e.g. exhibition images, accepted manuscript of a journal article). These licenses let potential users know how they can re-use it and if there are any restrictions.

The info-graphic below explains the different types of creative commons licenses you can attach to your work, ranging from the most free to most restrictive:

cc licenses infographic

 ©foter.   Licensed under CC-BY-SA

So why should you make your research open access and what are the benefits for you?

Making your outputs openly accessible in a repository, such as RADAR, enables your research to be disseminated quickly and widely making it more visible and discoverable to a diverse global audience.

It also leads to increased engagement with, and understanding of, your research by business, government, charities and the wider public which is good for impact!  As we mentioned in our last blog post you can check your download statistics in RADAR to see how much your work has been downloaded and the impact it is making.

Open access research also has a citation advantage. There have been a number of studies which have shown that research that is made open access is cited more than work which is stuck behind a pay wall. See: http://www.1science.com/oanumbr.html

Open access isn’t just for traditional publications such as journal articles and conference papers!

 RADAR has many images of artefacts and exhibitions available to view and download, which are often some of our most accessed items.

A recent report by the Smithsonian noted institutions that are making images of their art collections open access have increased the public’s engagement with their artworks, and their collaborations with corporate partners.[1]

By making your research outputs OA you will showcase the research being undertaken at the GSA which can lead to potential students and collaborators accessing and using your research.

Open access is also a public good.

Making your images and articles open access provides a good return on public money and can enrich the cultural and intellectual lives of those who do not usually have access to, or engage with, art and design research.  In particular, OA can help researchers in developing countries who do not have access to up to date high level research.

If you would like to make your research outputs OA, but have concerns about copyright, require further information, or are simply not sure how to upload to RADAR, please feel free to contact the RADAR team we would be delighted to help!

 

[1] Kapsalis, E. (2016) The Impact of Open Access on Galleries, Libraries, Museums, & Archives, Washington D.C.: Smithsonian, p.11.

Dawn Pike, Research Information Co-ordinator

August 2016

 

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