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BrowZine – a great app for searching and reading OA journals

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Modern mobile technology provides many new opportunities for the development of Open Access. Smartphones and tablets are now in common use and are useful tools for researchers, academics and students. Thanks to the digitization of content, scientific articles and books are widely available via the internet and mobile apps.

BrowZine is one of these apps. This application is a tool for searching, reading and saving OA journals. It also gives access to the OA resources of many university libraries.

After launching, the app displays a list of journal sources. The user can then choose either one of the university libraries or go to categories of OA journals. In the first case the app requires a login and password to the library, but if the user chooses free access to OA journals, the app does not request any kind of verification.

The OA journals are categorized by discipline and subject. Biological and Biomedical Sciences currently dominate, however there are a few journals from Philosophy and Law. After choosing a specific journal, the user can read articles or add the journal to a virtual bookshelf for a later look. The articles can be also saved in Dropbox or shared via Facebook.

Right now BrowZine is still in the early stages of development. It deals mainly with giving access to the content of libraries. There are not many OA journals freely available to everyone, especially in the categories such as Social Sciences and Humanities. However, the app is a pretty good tool for finding and reading OA content and certainly worth trying.

BrowZine is just one example demonstrating how new technology combined with the development of Open Access is gradually changing the way in which a user interacts with OA content. Mobile devices and ebooks are becoming more popular every year. Publishers and authors have a chance to participate in this growing trend by adjusting OA publications for use on mobile devices. Publications in the field of Social Science and Humanities are especially well suited for adapting to current mobile technology.

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