Clinical and Experimental Vision and Eye Research

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The Open-access Journal Controversy
  CLEVER
EDITORIAL
The Open-access Journal Controversy
Shibal Bhartiya1, Colin Clement2, Syril Dorairaj3
1Senior Consultant,Glaucoma Services, Fortis Memorial Hospital, Gurgaon, Haryana, India
2General Ophthalmology Staff Specialist, Sydney Eye Hospital, ClinicalSenior Lecturer, The University of Sydney, Sydney Eye Hospital, Sydney, Australia.
3Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, Consultant Glaucoma, Anterior SegmentSurgery Mayo Clinic, Department of Ophthalmology Florida, USA
Received: 02-02-2018
Accepted: 04-03-2018
doi: 10.15713/ins.clever.1
 
ABSTRACT
When you wake up in the morning do you read the paper?Watch the news? Or instead do you scroll through the multitudeof applications on your phone or computer checking varioussocial media sites, news outlets, or magazine articles? If youdo not, you are in the minority. We are living in the age ofinformation. At no other time in human history has there beensuch seamless, immediate access to information. But is that forthe best? It has become expected in this era of instant gratificationto feel comfortable with free, instant, and many. We want options.47% of the global population uses the internet. We believe thatuniversal access to knowledge is a human right in the same waythat many fight for the equality of opportunity. However, aswe navigate the uncharted territory of technology, we must bediligent and cautious.
How to cite this article: Bhartiya S, Clement C, Dorairaj S.The Open-Access Journal Controversy. Cli Exp Vis Eye ResJ 2018;1(1):1-2.
 
 

When you wake up in the morning do you read the paper?Watch the news? Or instead do you scroll through the multitudeof applications on your phone or computer checking varioussocial media sites, news outlets, or magazine articles? If youdo not, you are in the minority. We are living in the age ofinformation. At no other time in human history has there beensuch seamless, immediate access to information. But is that forthe best? It has become expected in this era of instant gratificationto feel comfortable with free, instant, and many. We want options.47% of the global population uses the internet. We believe thatuniversal access to knowledge is a human right in the same waythat many fight for the equality of opportunity. However, aswe navigate the uncharted territory of technology, we must bediligent and cautious.

Open-access journals epitomize the idealization of universalaccess to knowledge. Why should an assistant professor inThailand be forced to pay a $50 download fee, 2 days salary, toaccess an article that they wrote? However, in the same vein, whyshould they have to pay $1,500 to submit an article to a journal.It is likely that they cannot afford either scenario. Both businessmodels present paywalls that limit universal knowledge accesseither on the front end or the back end. The reality is that thecosts associated with journal production, upkeep, and innovationare impediments to an ideal system of free submission and freeaccess; however, such an ideal is unsustainable. The dilemmaof scholars worldwide then becomes which is the better of twoevils?

When speaking on information sharing, one of the mostconcerning aspects of the modern era is information overload.We are now bombarded with a plethora of resources all ofwhich compete for our attention, and because the barrier toentry has been lowered with the internet, who is to say thatthese resources are of a credible quality? The traditionalsubscription-based access to peer-reviewed journals is a systemnot without flaws; however, its embedded process of checksand balances ensures the most honest and high-quality worksmake it to print. A major concern of open-access journals isthe potential for further creation of academic "noise" duringa time period when researchers are already inundated withdaily updates of new publications. Predatory journals are acoined term for open-access journals scamming scholars forfinancial gain with little concern for the dilution of academicinnovation.

 
Far from being a concern in theory, an investigation byBohannon (2013) has shown that this is very real and wide spreadamong open-access publishers but thankfully not universal.Bohannon submitted a series of "fake" scientific studies toopen-access publishers between January and August 2013. Thestudies were perfomed by non-existent authors from non-existentacademic institutions reporting the results of laboratory studiesthat were fictitious with many obvious errors in experimentaldesign and results presented. At the time of reporting, the papershad been accepted for publication by 157 open-access journals andrejected by 98 open-access journals and had a decision pending in49 open-access journals. Bohannon noted that, in approximately60% of cases, an editorial decision was made without evidence ofa peer-review process.

Like any evolutionary process, some entities are developingniches in an effort to create spaces of academic and financialintegrity. Some publishing companies are adopting a "hybrid"business model that incorporates open-access systems into thetraditional membership subscription. This model is not onlydesigned to compete with the overwhelming expansion of theopen access market but also helps to distribute the costs equallybetween the two business models. In theory, if such a companychose to cap its profit margin, this blended system could lowerto costs of services. Another niche is the creation of "greenopen access," a strategy of self-archiving articles onto publicdepositories. This allows scholars who cannot afford subscriptionsaccess after publication. Many journals connected to scholarlysocieties are beginning to adopt these strategies in an effort tobetter universalize the research. The global academic communityis no doubt in a period of flux. It is our duty to approach thischange with a healthy, idealistic skepticism in an effort tocreate an environment that most effectively fosters the birth ofinnovation and the furthering of our scientific exploration intotruth.

Clinical and Experimental Vision and Eye Research, January-June, Vol 1, 2018 1

Bhartiya Open-access journal controversy

Moreover, with all these in mind, we embark on this newjournal which aims to be scientifically rigorous, educational, andinformative in a way that is readily available without financial ortechnical barriers.

 
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