Blog #3 Open Access for All

In academia, all disciplines build new research off prior literature. Our prior literature come various journals, proceedings, articles, monographs, and other various works under publication venues.  But an issue lies in getting access to some of the most predominant literature.  Once your state-of-the-art research is published at this venues/journals/conferences then the publishing venue has control over who gets access to the author’s work and gain copyrights to the work. In response to the these issues, one idea is focusing on “open access.”

I am a computer science (CS) graduate student so the idea of open access is not a far fetched one. The culture in CS revolves around this idea of “open source”to help improve, change, and (re)build software. I do a lot of “hand waving” on a LOT of details for open source principles (many books have been written on the subject alone!), but the important parallel is that “open” means free access to anyone. To solidify this example, I refer to one of many open access journals, Advances to Human-Computer Interaction (AHCI), in the CS community.

The nature of AHCI is interdisciplinary and thus the purpose and scope of this journal reflects it so. The high level goal of AHCI is to publish theoretical and applied interactive systems between the combined efforts in the fields of computing, engineering, artificial intelligence, psychology, linguistics, and social and system organization that can be applied to design, implementation, analysis, and evaluation. Many subject areas are covered and the list can be found here. To elaborate, while the journal is centered around CS other specialized research fields can contribute to the advancement of very difficult research questions that inherently CS. And such the scope of this journal is wide spread to compensate for new novel ideas spanning beyond CS. The link to the AHCI open access journal can be go here. But what’s interesting is that this journal doesn’t have its own open access stance but is a part of something bigger.

The AHCI is one of thousands of journals supported by Hindawi, a global academic community, where they believe in open research and strive to create/continue the widest possible access to state-of-the-art literature in many fields. Hindawi is one of the largest repository of open access journals pushing for the open access movement citing that lack of barriers to researchers produces quick turn around time on spreading research across the world. No academic institution is associated to this journal but they do offer their own membership to collect funds for support and there are industry/businesses that also provide support for this open access journal. Because AHCI is owned by Hindawi this means AHCI inherits the overarching mission goals of Hindawi (including Hindawi’s role in open access).

So, how does Hindawi describe open access? Hindawi defines open access as:

By ‘open access’ to this literature, we mean its free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself.

The provided definition extends to all the journals maintained by Hindawi. At the writing of this post, AHCI is completely online and no printed journal is maintained. Of course, online material is a lot easier to access than a printed copy (making it easier to maintain an open access journal). For more detail, you can read the Hindawi’s article on open access here.

To conclude, Hindawi is continuing to grow and maintain all journals (such as AHCI) with a respectable status showing novel works being published at regular intervals. Removing the current “paywall” barriers in non-open access journals greatly increases the spread of knowledge to a wider audience (academic or not) for all fields. For the researcher, this means their work gets out to be critically reviewed, to be built upon, to let the world know of the quality work being done to push the limits of human knowledge. It’s a win-win system for both parties (including the journal itself).

Thanks for reading and until then next blog post.




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