#1 Accelerate scientific discovery
Open access supports the reproducibility of results and accelerates the dissemination of findings across the world. As a result, this openness and accessibility leads to increased visibility and discoverability as researchers worldwide can read, build upon, reuse, and support your research findings.
In their Software Tool Article, Balazs Bohar et al. shared Sherlock, an open source, big data platform, openly to disseminate it as widely as possible. Data collection underpins biological research more than ever before. Yet, data management can be as time-consuming as the analysis itself. Computational biologists often spend days preparing data before answering any biological questions. By streamlining bioinformatics data management, Sherlock helps computational biologists spend more time analyzing data and less time collating it. By sharing the platform openly, Bohar et al. hope to obtain feedback and collaborators that could help develop Sherlock further.
Our main goal is to disseminate the Sherlock platform widely […]. In my opinion, open research is an important and essential part of a researcher’s life. We can achieve the best results in all of the areas of biology if we collaborate together and try to solve the problems that arise together. […] Furthermore, I think the best way to improve your skills and knowledge is to receive feedback about your work, even if it is positive or negative. With this, we also help the progress of science.
Balazs Bohar, Research Assistant, Korcsmaros Group at Imperial College London
#2 Wider public engagement
The importance of communicating research to non-academic audiences cannot be overstated. Studies have shown that access to research findings is highly valued by the public, resulting in strong public support for open access.
As such, by publishing openly you amplify the impact of your research by helping those beyond academia to discover, understand, and apply your research. This includes the general public, policymakers, and non-governmental organizations.
In this Brief Report, Benjamin Best and Carina Zell-Ziegler made their policy database openly available so the relevant stakeholders could more easily access actionable knowledge and recommendations on energy sufficiency. The first of its kind in Europe, the database contains an extensive literature review of European and National sufficiency policies. As a result, the database can be used for a wide range of purposes, including facilitating collaboration between energy researchers and serving as a basis for policy recommendations.
Furthermore, by widening access to their database, Best and Zell-Ziegler allow the general public, who are usually blocked by paywalls, to explore and share their database with others. This helps improve public trust in research and accelerates the the dissemination of findings across the world, so those who need it most can use it.
We are constantly working on developing the database even further. We will be publishing new versions on F1000Research every time we make big changes and include more information. […] We believe that publicly funded research should be made publicly available and we want people everywhere to have access to our database.
Benjamin Best and Carina Zell-Ziegler, Wuppertal Institut fur Klima, Umwelt, Energie and Researcher, Oeko-Institut
#3 Inspire interdisciplinary innovation
Open access offers researchers from multiple fields and specialisms the opportunity to carry out interdisciplinary research on a global scale. When all researchers can gain access to your research, it may result in new collaborative partnerships and pave the way for new research opportunities. By drawing on the unique perspectives and valuable insights of researchers with varying professional expertise, research directly benefits from diversity of thought and experience.
In this Software Tool Article, plant researchers, Franco Röckel et al. shared their code openly to facilitate collaboration with other researchers. They believe this will result in new app features that will further improve the data handling experience for plant researchers. The article explores PhenoApp, an open source Android app that reduces the significant time plant researchers spend manually processing phenotyping data.
For plant researchers, the handling, processing, and adequate management of phenotyping data is the most challenging and labour-intensive part of their role. For example, Rockel maintains several large, and popular databases. He also co-curates the German Grape Genebank (DGR), which contains seven German grapevine collections, making it an important tool for safeguarding grapevine genetic resources in Germany.
As part of the JKI, the German Federal Research Centre for Cultivated Plants, with no commercial interest, open access was clear from the start and I would do it again, of course. I am a dedicated advocate of open access science and the FAIR data principles in general, especially when publicly funded. Furthermore, by sharing our code, we hope to encourage researchers to further develop PhenoApp. In cooperation with us, we could publish new features in upcoming app versions. This benefits all users.
Franco Röckel, Julius Kühn Institute (JKI)
The open access movement shows no signs of slowing down as institutions and consortia worldwide are increasingly mandating this publication route. Now is the time to learn about what open access is and what it might mean for your research career. Visit our Resources for Researchers hub to learn more about the different types of open access and the advantages of publishing transparently.