What is open access publishing?
Open access (OA) publishing provides researchers and readers free access to research articles online. In case of OA journals, an article processing fee is levied on the authors after acceptance of the paper. This charge is payable by the researcher, author or the institution the author is affiliated to. However, certain OA journals do not charge any fee and support their operations through sponsorship or subscriptions of the journals.
What is traditional publishing?
Traditional publishing refers to a type of contract between the author and the publisher. In this type of publishing, the author receives a portion of the revenue generated from sales of the journals. This is also known as the “royalty payment model.”
Which route to adopt?
Various factors play a determining role for authors adopting either the open access or the traditional route for publication.
Many researchers consider the open access model as economically unsustainable because it imposes an additional financial burden on them as well as on the institute they are affiliated to. But again, it comes with a basket-full of advantages, such as a much quicker publication process compared to the traditional mode and enhanced visibility of the research to a broader audience. On the other hand, traditional publications have incorporated many reforms in their business models. They ensure manuscript quality and a brand value.
Many publishing houses place the onus on the author. They give authors the choice of either disseminating the research to a wide research community through an OA publication, or opting for the traditional mode of publication.
With the advent of the Internet, we are habituated to rapid changes in business models of the publication industry. However, the journal publication business has been relatively more resistant to change. That is a function of the prevailing academic culture, where the importance of a publication is recognized through the brand value of journals and their ability to promote the publication and win research grants.