STUDENTS have an especially large stake in the debate about access to research. Expanding access will pay great dividends to students in a variety of ways:
- A complete education: students in any discipline need access to the latest research to have a complete education in their field of study that will allow them to hit the ground running after graduation. Limited access to research makes students settle for the information that is available rather than that which is most relevant. Open Access can ensure students get the best possible education and are not artificially limited by the selection of scholarly journals their campuses are able to provide.
- Research for papers: it’s a familiar story: you’re writing a paper for class and you need to cite articles from peer-reviewed journals. Eventually, you find an article that looks good — maybe via a search engine, a footnote from another source, or a reference in an index. You search the Web for the full text, but you can’t get past the abstract. You look on your library’s Web site but they don’t have a subscription. You’re stuck. Maybe that article would have been a major source for your work — you’ll never know. You don’t have access. Open Access changes that. No more worrying about whether you’re on the campus network or if your library has a subscription. If you’re online, you have access, period — anywhere in the world.
- The current system puts students from smaller schools at a disadvantage: due to the staggering price of journal subscriptions that can exceed $20,000, only the largest, most well-funded institutions have the opportunity to provide their students with the complete scholarly record. Students at many colleges and universities must make do with the access their library is able to afford. In addition, students at community colleges across the country, who comprise a significant portion of students in higher education, suffer from a near-total lack of access to the latest research, which remains locked away in expensive journals.
In addition to students, opening access to the results of research will benefit a wide variety of constituencies. Explore the links below to see how each specific group will gain significantly from increased access to scholarly journals:
Patients and Doctors