Open Access Journals Are Good
Open access is causing a revolution to take place in medical and health research. Now, everyone can effectively take control of their healthcare decisions with Open Access Journals.
It was not all that long ago when people had to pay $25 per search of medical and health research papers by way of making U.S. Postal Service mail requests. The establishment of PubMed, finally enabled people to get a list of citations online by searching their database of research, for free.
Research abstracts, which are executive summaries of the published paper provide a hint about what a particular study is about. That meant that if you searched enough abstracts, you would eventually find a few that provided bona fide health tips, formally known as research conclusions. The problem, however, has always been getting access to the full text of the paper. Usually, this meant that the public had to pay between 30 and 40 dollars a pop. Obviously paying for every paper that might be of benefit, could easily get quite pricey. In addition, it was a big gamble since there is no guarantee whatsoever that reading a particular research study would benefit you, at all.
Eventually, some of the established print journals occasionally allowed everyone to read the full text of a particular research study, for free, online, even if it was only on a temporary basis.
The Essentials of Open Access
Now, with the advent of Open Access Journals every one is allowed to read all their published research for free, online, all the time.
Open Access Journals are opposed to the establishment, old boys' club of academia called print journals.
In other words, just as newspapers printed on paper have become obsolete due to the advent of the Internet, so have the old school traditional print journals of academia. Computers have made possible the digitizing of vast amounts of information. Nevertheless, these traditional print journals are resisting the change over to open access, by every means possible.
Traditional print journals rely on college and university subscription revenues that amount to thousands of dollars per subscription. Thus, this old boys' club of restricting access to published research depends upon academia paying ever-higher subscription fees.
Even though your tax dollars fund most research, these traditional print journals steadfastly claim that the public has no right to access the results of the research without paying for it. With Open Access Journals, however, the author of the research which usually translates to the funding source pays a couple thousand of dollars up front in order to get their research published in a format that allows everyone free access to it.
The snobbery of academia usually tries to associate peer reviewed and high quality research with the traditional print journals. The publication of peer reviewed, high quality research, however, is entirely possible with open access journals.
Conclusion: It is the position of the Natural Health Perspective that abuse exists in both systems of publishing health research.
While there may be a glut at the moment on the Net, numbering somewhere between 5 and 9 thousands different open access journals; over time, clear winners will emerge who would have established themselves as having the highest standards for accepting manuscripts for publication, such as PLOS ONE.
"PLOS publishes seven peer-reviewed open-access journals...
[PLOS ONE publishes] ... fewer than 10% of submissions...
[Our] peer review process does not judge the importance of the work, rather [it] focuses on whether the work is done to high scientific and ethical standards and is appropriately described, and that the data support the conclusions. Combining tools for commentary and rating, PLOS ONE is also a unique forum for community discussion and assessment of articles." -- PLOS Journals
When all you have to go on is what is stated in the abstract of traditional print journals, you are expected to accept their science, as is. However, with an open access journal, everyone is in a much better position to form their own health conclusions, simply by taking the time to read the papers themselves.
Remember that with great power comes great responsibility.