Author : ElHassan ElSabry
Studies about open access (OA) have predominantly focused it impact on communication within the scholarly community. For example, many studies have been published on what is called the “Open Access Citation Advantage (OACA)”.
On the other hand, implications of OA in non-academic contexts (e.g. medical practice, policymaking, patient advocacy and citizen science) have been the subject of and the basis for a lot of the advocacy work and many funding agencies’ OA policies, but not so much the subject of original research studies.
To date, this study is the first attempt to collect and synthesize the available evidence on the societal impact of open access. It further builds on this evidence base by introducing a typology of the various science-society interfaces where demand for access to research potentially exists.
The proposed scheme is anticipated to provide guidance for future research on the issue of OA’s societal impact. The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications of non-academic usage of research on the open access debate, especially on the question of who should bear the cost of scholarly publishing.