Favoring open access when evaluating academic merits
By Jan Kunnas
A survey conducted in 2010 found that 89 percent of the 38 000 active researchers that answered the survey are convinced that open access is beneficial for their research field, directly improving the way the scientific community work. Still only 8—10 percent of articles are published yearly in open access journals (Dallmeier‐Tiessen et al., 2011 http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1101/1101.5260.pdf).
One of the main advantages of the various open access journals operating on the Internet is that they make original scientific research available also to laymen, the taxpayers who finance scientific research in the first place. There is, however, a need for carrots to induce scholars to publish in open access journals. I would toss the ball to the Ivy League and other prestigious universities. They could take the first step by favoring open access journals when evaluating academic merits. I am confident that the rest of the academic world would follow, it usually does. The advantage of this approach is that it would lift up researchers with more interest in the societal impact of their research, as it would favor researchers valuing accessibility of their research over the prestige of the outlet of their research.