Strengths and Weaknesses of Open Access Journals

Open access journals have created a revolution of sorts in the way information is being accessed. With the advent of the Internet, more people are able to tap into the vast knowledge that exists on the web, facilitated by open access journals which do not require a subscription to any particular library. There are various advantages to this kind of open content:

  • It benefits people who are interested in the information but who cannot afford to pay to access such journals.
  • It allows science and technology to spread out and reach a larger volume of people.
  • It allows both institutions and individuals to enhance their knowledge of the subject.
  • It provides access to the latest news in science and technology at no extra cost.
  • It allows people to see what the latest areas of research are.
  • It grants access to the results of ongoing research to people who are looking for innovations in the subject.
  • It provides more exposure to the authors of the journals and brings them acclaim.
  • Open access articles gain more exposure because they are cited as sources of information by other authors on the Internet.

Even with all these advantages, open access journals do have a few inherent weaknesses:

  • The concept is a little difficult to implement.
  • Not many people are open to making their work accessible at no cost.
  • Some open access journals are based on fees and this means that the authors are required to pay for the publication of the journal or find a sponsor to take care of the relevant expenses.
  • The cost of publication is high because of the need for maintaining high standards using peer reviews and other reliable methods.

The arguments for and against open access journals continue even as most of them get published and some of them don’t. Those against the concept contend that the same content can be made available to those who need it but cannot afford it at subsidized rates that will cover the cost of publishing at least instead of being totally free. But the proponents of this cause are those that endorse the open source model – they are looking to spread information wherever, and to whomever it’s needed.