The Impact of Open Access upon Public Health

  • The PLoS Medicine Editors
  • Published: May 30, 2006
  • DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0030252

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Open Access Journals, Need Of Developing Countries

Posted by plosmedicine on 30 Mar 2009 at 23:55 GMT

Author: Ahmad A. Sabri
Additional Authors: Muhammad Ahad Qayyum
Submitted Date: June 05, 2006
Published Date: June 8, 2006
This comment was originally posted as a “Reader Response” on the publication date indicated above. All Reader Responses are now available as comments.

Open access (OA) journals are imperative in providing up to date information swiftly across the globe, but more importantly their role in promotion of research culture cannot be ignored. In a recent study conducted in a Pakistani Hospital, it was found that only 20% of residents read medical journals monthly, 12% had ever written in medical journals and 12% had never read a medical journal. High workload and poor financial conditions are among the notable reasons for poor research activity. Poor funding, high workload and poor access to journals are other impediments to trainees' research [1]. By definition "Open access" means that a reader of a scientific publication can read it over the Internet, print it out and even further distribute it for non-commercial purposes without any payments or restrictions [2].

In such a scenario of over work and underpay, increasing the number of OA journals is the need of the hour as they primarily contribute to enhance the research culture. By eliminating the factor of poor financial conditions as an obstacle to research activity by providing greater number of OA journals, we can improve the conditions quickly. OA journals dramatically increases the number of potential users of any given article by adding those users who would otherwise have been unable to access it because their institution could not afford the access-tolls of the journal in which it appeared; therefore, it stands to reason that OA can only increase both usage and impact [3]. Another way OA journals can facilitate the progress of research culture is by enabling the proponents of research to print and distribute the articles of common interest (like new guidelines for CPR) to convince about the advantages of active research. In developing countries like Pakistan and India such an incentive of availability of OA journals are essential to push people towards research activities.


1. Aslam F, Qayyum MA, Mahmud H, Qasim R, Haque IU (2004) Attitudes and practices of post graduate medical trainees towards research - A Snapshot from Faisalabad. J Pak Med Assoc 54:584-586.

2. Open access to scientific publications - an analysis of the barriers to change? / Bo-Christer Bjork// W: Biuletyn EBIB [Dokument elektroniczny] / red. naczelny Bozena Bednarek-Michalska. - Nr 2/2005 (63) luty. - Czasopismo elektroniczne. - [Warszawa]: Stowarzyszenie Bibliotekarzy Polskich KWE, 2005. Available Accessed 04 June 2006.

3. Harnad S, Brody T, Comparing the Impact of Open Access (OA) vs. Non-OA Articles in the Same Journals. D-Lib Magazine 2004 June. Available Accessed 04 June 2006.

No competing interests declared.