Open Access can be a useful tool for young scientists at the beginning of their academic career. OA increases the number of article downloads and the level of citations. Thanks to that, a young researcher’s article has a better chance of being noticed by the scientific community as well as the lay reader. Open Access may be a great opportunity not only for young researchers but also for undergraduate authors who take their first step on the academic career path.
From time to time students participate in projects that end up being published in journal literature. However, for these young researchers, APCs in Gold OA journals can be too high. That is why PeerJ decided to launch a special project for undergraduate authors, which will run through 2013 and will allow undergraduate authors to publish in OA without costs:
“Therefore, today we are pleased to announce a new initiative for undergraduate co-authors on papers submitted to PeerJ. Specifically, authors who were undergraduates when the research was conducted will be able to publish in PeerJ for free (with the caveats that the submission should also have senior author(s) who have a normal Membership status and assuming the submission passes peer review as normal). To take advantage of this offer, submitting authors should mention their undergraduate status when making their PeerJ Submission.”
PeerJ’s program might be seen as a marketing ploy for better promotion and gaining new authors; but there is nothing wrong with that. Moreover, I think that attracting scientific authors to Open Access, even those who are not graduates yet, is desirable. If the students and young researchers have a chance to publish their papers in an easy, open way, they will have an opportunity to develop their interests and to start careers as academics.
There is a big role for universities in this process of promoting and helping young people to achieve a higher level of academic education. Universities could encourage students to study and develop further by introducing special programs for them to publish in OA. Open Access publishers should take part in this effort by introducing special offers for such authors. As a result, a new generation of researchers will be more aware of the advantages (and disadvantages) of Open Access.