Open access publishing and public literacy in human nutrition
Open Access (OA) publishing is widely recognized as a critical resource for the advancement of scientific progress. The attention in biomedical research regarding OA is testified by the adherence of the World Health Organization (WHO) OA policy to the principles of the Plan S initiative whereby “from 2021, scientific publications that result from research funded by public grants must be published in compliant Open Access journals or platforms” (https://www.coalition-s.org/). As we highlighted by querying the Web of Science (WoS) Core Collection database, more than half of the scientific papers (articles, review articles, editorial materials, early access papers and letters; access date August 22, 2023) regarding general and internal medicine (81.4%) and research and experimental medicine (74.2%) have been published OA in the period January 1, 2021 – July 31, 2023. Concerning the specific subfield of human nutrition and dietetics, we observed a situation in line with this trend (62% of papers published OA) for the same period. This vast availability of scientific information is undoubtedly crucial for the researchers’ work, but less effective to incentivize public literacy in human nutrition. Unfortunately, the general public finds more attractive the nutrition content disseminated on websites and social networks, often scientifically inconsistent but easier to read than the academic papers (Capocasa and Venier 2023; https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00394-023-03228-3).