Nowadays it is more comfortable to use the Internet while searching for some information than to look through numerous books. Many people give up attempts to compose a paper after they have stumbled over the material collection. By all means, if a student can’t get necessary facts and arguments for his or her work, this problem freezes all the writing process. Some people prefer to order academic papers because of the lack of writing skills and knowledge; others are lucky enough to find the way out. They discover a unique source full of helpful information called ‘open access journal’ that opens the door to the world of scholarly articles and books. It helps to boost someone’s knowledge in a sphere quickly as well. That is why every student should get acquainted with these digital sources and their benefits for their study.
Open Access Journal: Definition and Types
The main value of any online repository is that it deals with free access to the world’s academic papers, and this collection constantly adds some new content. Here, every student can find definitions of some terms and explanations of phenomena needed for research. Lately, it was considered a storage of academic articles only, but today it is known as a database of different digital books, dissertation works, and research papers digitized and included into the list. We meet most of such repositories every day; for instance, Google Books is one of the mass projects of material digitization. However, not every work is free there; sometimes students have to pay for some of them. Chargeable content is a frequent trick of modern open access journals, as some authors prefer to get money for their works. Despite this little inconvenience, prices are quite affordable. For this reason, it is better to pay some money for good and useful material than to reuse analyses and research papers of other scientists. It can lead to total misunderstanding of a theme, as an author of an academic work from a database has his or her own opinion, whereas individuals have to investigate a subject on their own and stick to their opinions.
Today specialists distinguish gratis and libre open access types. The first one means that someone can use any scholarly work without charge. The second one is a free charge access too, but it also allows to reuse a journal’s content, make copies, and use information obtained there without any restrictions. Alongside with this characteristic, two general strategies of open access journals are well-known: a journal publishes free articles that can be reused if it provides an open license for it and a self-archiving source where every author (or a person acting for a scientist) can add some e-prints of articles and books. They are free as well if a publisher or author wants it. Republished articles are called e-prints; they are final versions of a work accepted by a journal before editing.
Ever more universities and colleges demand making their articles and works digitized and provide open access to them according to all rules and regularities of the access policy. However, to reuse content, there should be an open license for it as well.
Open Access Journals’ Directories
After the Budapest Open Access Initiative was held in 2002, the development of projects targeted spreading scientific knowledge and expanding the boundaries of digital journals’ possibilities. One of them is the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) that was established at the Lund University. Due to the initiative, all sources and material can be used and spread without limits. This website includes approximately 3,300 various articles and books. Readers and visitors of this large repository have the right to download, copy, print, read, and even distribute material of the database. The project has got a grant from the International Development Research Centre to include African journals and articles in 2016.
Any material added to the directory can be eliminated if it changes the status of open access to closed one. There are some more aspects leading to the exclusion of a source from the directory:
- A journal stops replenishing its repository with articles and books, or it contains too little information.
- The website of a journal is not available.
- A source has no registration certificate.
- If rules and regulations of the depository were broken by an editor of a journal, it can be the reason to eliminate it.
Not every publication may be registered easily, as it has to come through final editing and approval by managers of the website.
DOAJ is one of the most famous storages of articles and books provided for free in the Internet. Thousands of scholars find reliable and appropriate information for their papers there.
DOAJ is not the only way to search for information. In other words, people can choose any other directory meeting their requirements. There are a great number of such online repositories. Some of them are mentioned below:
- Open Access Thesis and Dissertations (OATD)
- Google Scholar
Here students can find profound academic papers from more than 600 prestigious colleges and universities of the world. This database contains 1.5 million descriptions of dissertations and thesis works. The full content is kept at universities’ servers. However, essays and research papers are available for free there. Besides, 30 first pages of every thesis are available.
It is an e-print storage of scientific articles and books. ArXiv is the biggest free repository of e-print journals on physics, math, astronomy, biology, and many other subjects. It was founded in 1991, and now it is a part of the Cornell University library in the USA. It contains many overviews on articles, which are published in other journals too. It is a great possibility for people who want to get acquainted with some unavailable papers or journals. A student can find an article according to keywords that he or she will type in the search engine of the page – it makes the process much easier.
It is an open access server, which enables people to find material according to full-text search for academic papers of all formats and disciplines. The system has been working since 2004 in the status of beta-version. The repository of Google Academy includes lots of online journals and materials of the biggest publishers of Europe and the United States of America.
These and many other directories of open access sources are useful for every student who wants to push his or her limits to obtain a dream degree.
Challenges Regarding Open Access Materials
Despite the fact that the availability of information in the Internet is growing day by day and ever more sources are functioning without any charge, there are still some common myths about digitized information that can be used freely to be described.
A recent report published by Science contains some interesting facts related to free informational availability in the global net. In short, the article exposed the unreliability of sources published openly and claimed that many scientific papers and academic research essays are “garbage” mainly. The overall tone of the article claimed for reconsideration of open access journals’ use. To put it another way, research was dedicated to a problem that may be called “Open access is a bad thing.” This issue is very topical today, and numerous mass media sources discuss it in their articles to shed light on the problem of reliability, which requires knowing some criteria to select only high-quality articles. Furthermore, a great number of arguments and controversial opinions confuse writers strongly, as some individuals can’t understand what advantages and disadvantages online libraries bring to them.
The problem of availability of some trustful resources is acute in every country of the world. Even in the Great Britain, where the Government supports it, there is no full access to the content. The reason is that a major part of scientific journals is available for a fee; the high price of a subscription is a result of chargeable content. That is why it is hard to find a full-text document or article on a topic to obtain some valuable knowledge, but it is easy to find several references to this information in the Internet. Due to free access, we have different business models allowing to sell information to people.
Some scholars think that online publishing is produced without editing at all; however, it is false, as they are proofread independently on the open or closed basis. In other words, it doesn’t matter what type of information they provide to a reader, and whether it costs some money or not – all articles are reviewed. However, selection of the best evidence should still be done carefully, by following quality criteria.
“A prestigious work can’t be written with the help of material taken from open access journals”, someone may think. However, there are many online libraries with a high impact factor. Such services as PloS Biology, BioMed Central, and many others provide their readers with only trustful articles and works, which were approved or written by outstanding professionals of different spheres.
As it is clear from the lines above, any student can find great and fitting pieces of evidence, results of research, and fresh scholarly articles on some topics related to a paperwork he or she must complete. Students should be careful while sorting out material for the future work. Using online repositories is a key to successful research and composition of a winning paper. Students all over the world can find a work or article related to research in one click and save some time by collecting material.