Open access and reaching equity and inclusion

The Source
By: undefined, Mon Oct 25 2021

This year, we are celebrating open access week by talking to a number of researchers who have chosen to publish their work openly. We are discussing the reasons behind their choice, and the benefits they have seen for their research and career, and the role that institutions as well as Transformative Agreements can have in assisting with funding. In this interview, Dr. Olga Hannonen, post-doctoral researcher at the Business School, University of Eastern Finland, shares her thoughts on publishing open access.

This year’s OA week theme is “It Matters How We Open Knowledge: Building Structural Equity.” What role do you see for OA in addressing equity and inclusion?

Open access to research developments is one of the most important steps on the way to reaching equity and inclusion. Starting my academic journey in a Russian institution, I see how absence of access to publications, which are available through a subscription-only stream, excludes many researchers from taking part in scientific discourses in their respective disciplines. Thus, moving to open access publishing bridges the gap between researchers from different parts of the world that have uneven access possibilities to scientific journals.

Please tell us more about your research and why you chose to publish your research Gold OA.

My research focuses on different types of lifestyle and trans-border tourism mobility.  I have carried out research on second-home and residential mobilities in Russia, Finland, Spain, and Northern Cyprus. Through my recent research, I have looked into theoretical aspects of digital nomadism as a new and growing trend in lifestyle-led mobilities. More specifically, my open-access paper “In search of a digital nomad: defining the phenomenon” that has been published with Springer discusses digital nomadism along related lifestyle phenomena and offers a conceptual framing of the phenomenon within lifestyle mobilities.

Publishing open access was offered by the Springer’s journal Information Technology and Tourism along the article submission process. Publishing open access with Springer was an easy choice due to the national agreement on open access publishing that Finland has with Springer Nature. This automatically lifted any additional documentation and fee handling during the publishing process.

What has been the impact of publishing your work via open access? Has publishing OA affected the reach/reception of your research among colleagues, other disciplines, or non-academics?

Publishing open access increases the visibility and access to the paper, which is not always possible for individuals from different countries and those outside the academic community. My open access paper “In search of a digital nomad: defining the phenomenon” has reached 12.000 views. It has been well-referenced by authors that publish on digital nomadism or related phenomena.

The actual impact of this open access paper goes beyond the cross-reference indices. In addition, due to open access, my paper has attracted a lot of media attention and has been referred to in numerous news articles and blogs. I keep on finding references to my article in news and blogs from all over the world, written in different languages, most of which I do not speak myself.  Also, as an author of the paper that offers conceptual framing of digital nomadism, I was invited to host a webinar and give expert opinions on the topic to international media, such as BBC News and the Wall Street Journal as well as foreign TV channels from Brazil and Turkey.

Do you feel that OA options and benefits are understood well in your discipline? What are the OA publishing barriers/challenges specific to your discipline?

Benefits and challenges of open access publishing transcend specific disciplines. Open access publishing is strongly advised, and often required by different research funding instruments. One of the biggest challenges to publish open access is the open access fee that should be covered by the university. Thus, publishing open access is subjected to specific financial circumstances of a particular institution.

Tell us about your experience publishing open access under the FinELib Transformative Agreement with Springer Nature. What were the key benefits?

Publishing the article in question was my first experience in publishing under the open access agreement of FinELib with Springer Nature. I must say that the process was very smooth. I did not have to fill in any additional forms or provide any additional information. The review and publishing steps underwent the usual process, and the paper became freely available online immediately though the online-first publishing format.

What would be your advice to others thinking of publishing OA?

Presently, the number of journals that are either fully open access or provide open access publishing under certain conditions keeps on growing. I advise researchers to familiarise themselves with the available options of open access publishing and choose a suitable option. One should not underestimate the benefits of open access publishing in relation to both academic and societal impact of the research. 

Dr. Olga Hannonen’s article was published OA under the Finland Transformative Agreement between Springer Nature and FinELib. This agreement means authors affiliated with participating institutions can publish OA in more than 2,000 Springer hybrid journals with their fees covered.

Learn more about open access and open research and discover the options offered at Springer Nature.

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About Dr. Olga Hannonen

Dr. Olga Hannonen is a post-doctoral researcher at the Business School, University of Eastern Finland. She has carried out research on second-home and residential tourism in Russia, Finland, Spain, and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Through her recent research, Dr. Hannonen has been looking into digital nomadism and remote work travel as growing trends in lifestyle mobilities, and the recreational use of aquatic environments in Finland.