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Is There a Difference Between Open Access and Open Science?

 [Approximate Reading Time : 4 mins]

“Open access” and “open science” are both terms you read and hear frequently in articles and discussions on trends in scientific research. The media often uses these two terms interchangeably, but are they really the same thing? Not quite. They both refer to transparency and the free flow of information in scientific research, but there are differences between them.

What Is Open Access?

“Open access” refers to making scholarly publishing widely and freely available. Rather than requiring readers and institutions to pay for journal subscriptions or individual articles, open access journals and online repositories provide them to anyone who wants to read them at no cost. Scientific publishing has traditionally been locked behind a paywall, inhibiting access for those who can’t afford to pay the price.

Academic institutions and libraries are the key organizations driving the movement. The move to open access is growing, and large institutions — such as the University of California system — are dropping their subscriptions with publishers. Many traditional publishing companies now offer open access publications, along with traditional formats. Currently, there are a total of 16,671 open access journals worldwide.

How Is Open Science Different?

Open science includes open access, but it has a much broader scope. Scientific research and research publishing have always had an element of expected transparency about them. Scientists are expected to make their research notes and data available to anyone who requests them, an expectation that continues. However, open science goes farther and includes open lab notebooks, open scholarly communication networks, open-source science software, and citizen science programs, as well as open access to scientific publishing.

Open science also encourages more collaboration across fields and between researchers around the world. Proponents of open science also call for improvements in data sharing. Scientists don’t wait for requests for data. Instead, the data are made readily available at conferences, through data repositories, and as supplements to their published research papers. Many journals now require authors to include a data supplement. By making their data available, researchers can increase research visibility, impact and transparency. This benefits not only other scientists but also the broader public.

What Is Enable OA?

Enable OA is Amnet’s full-service open access service for publishers. We offer technology-driven solutions to advance streamlined content delivery in open access formats. With our Reach OA program, you get a streamlined digital platform for publishing open access journals, micropublications and preprints. To get more information on what we can do for you,  get in touch with us today.


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