Health practitioners and policy makers translate health research into practice and policy. However, these end users have limited access to full versions of peer-reviewed literature in subscription journals. Thus, the essential information bypasses the people it is designed to help and the health benefits of medical research are limited and delayed. Open access (OA) publishing is one strategy to facilitate the translation of research to improve health. This review explores the evidence that OA publishing is an effective strategy to facilitate the translation of research and improve health.
The review examines citation benefit, knowledge translation, diffusion impact, self-archiving and regional responses, and found entrenched views about OA publishing but little empirical research.The many biases and flaws in published research lead to a high level of waste and limit the ability to find innovative solutions to the burgeoning health costs. Evidence is presented here that OA publishing would facilitate a reduction in these flaws and biases, reduce waste in research and facilitate innovation. Although there are positive signs of change, more action and more research are needed.