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Open Access vs. Traditional Publishing: the Case of Antonio Silva

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The theoretical differences between Open Access and traditional publishing have been discussed time and time again. However, one way to shed new light on the subject is to focus on real-life examples such as the case of junior scientist Antonio Silva.

Hybrid Publishing Lab has recently conducted a short interview with Silva, who decided to publish one of his articles the traditional way (in ‘Evolution & Human Behavior’) and another in Open Access (‘PLoS ONE’). His following remarks on this topic prove particularly revealing.

First of all, Silva notes that the waiting period for the publication of the OA article was relatively short – only two months – while he had to wait six months for the other article to be published. The junior scientist also stresses that students like him are not always able to pay to access articles and libraries cannot afford the more expensive subscriptions. This means that his OA article is bound to reach a wider readership than his other article.

On the other hand Silva also draws attention to the high processing fees of OA publishing. If a researcher does not have access to sufficient funds, publishing in Open Access remains out of reach. But even though fees are often seen as a deterrent to OA publishing, it is important to remind authors that they are rarely expected to cover these costs themselves. Instead, most funds for OA fees tend to come from universities or private institutions (more information on OA funding can be found in “Funding for Open Access Publications: a Brief Overview“).

This leads us to a more specific argument as to which publishing model is better suited to science – and to the scientists themselves, especially at the beginning of their careers. Antonio Silva’s case also highlights the importance of finding ways to finance scientific publications in order to maximise their accessibility. However, this remains an open debate and ultimately, one that must be directly addressed by the scientific community.

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