Today’s blog post is our first response to the theme of “Open In Order To…” Arguably, the most significant benefit of Open Access is that it helps to maximise the impact of research.
Making research freely available online helps to remove financial barriers to readership; although Internet access continues to be limited or unavailable for many people, Open Access nevertheless opens research to far larger an audience than is available through traditional (i.e. pay-to-view) models of dissemination. Having a larger audience means that research is also more likely to have impact, as more people are able to learn from its findings. For example, owners of small businesses are more likely to benefit from management research, and healthcare practitioners are more likely to be able to implement the conclusions from health research in their day-to-day work. Moreover, it can help research to have a real impact on key policy decisions, whether local, national or international in scope.
While the Publications Team at RGU Library are not able to keep track of the impact that RGU’s open access research is having, we can demonstrate just how much it is being used, which may give an indication of how many people may be benefitting from it. In the past five years, there have been 273,746 downloads from OpenAIR@RGU, of which one of our most frequently-downloaded items is an article on green consumerism with 8,725 downloads since it was added to the repository in August 2014. As a result of publisher restrictions on Green Open Access (where we make a version of an article openly available on OpenAIR, but it is published as pay-to-view on the publisher’s website), we often apply embargoes to our records, while still making them discoverable to the general public. In the past year alone, we have received 126 requests for access to embargoed publications, many of which our researchers have helped to fulfil by providing one-to-one copies in line with publisher permissions.
Below is a graph, showing a breakdown of download figures from OpenAIR since December 2012. As you can see, the overall trend indicates that downloads are increasing:
If you are an RGU researcher and want to find out more about how to get your research on OpenAIR, or if you are interested in your personal usage figures, just get in touch with the team at firstname.lastname@example.org!