Open Voices

We’re sharing true, personal stories from SN researchers about their experience of publishing open access

Accessed 117k times, tweeted 530+ times and featuring in 70+ news stories; Dr. Dorna Esrafilzadeh‘s recent Nature Communications article caught both the attention of her peers and the wider public. By choosing to publish her results open access, she managed to engage the public about the exciting potential of carbon capture technologies to help combat climate change, and at the same time also helped to raise her profile and found beneficial new collaborations to advance her research.

Scientists whose work is relevant to climate change are often called on by their colleagues and broader society to share what they know and why it matters. Many are willing to do so in whatever way they can – and Dr. Dorna Esrafilzadeh of the Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, is one such researcher. She seeks ways to engage with everyone about her work and its potential future impact. In her recent article titled: ‘Room temperature CO2 reduction to solid carbon species on liquid metals featuring atomically thin ceria interfaces’, she describes a new liquid metal electrocatalyst that has the potential to remove carbon dioxide from the air and turn it into a solid form that can be used in renewable energy applications. As new carbon capture technologies could lead to solutions to ensure a future stable climate, she chose to publish this work in an open access journal so it could be read by as many people as possible. “I think it’s important to let the public know what we are doing,” Dorna says. “In Australia, the majority of research funding comes from taxpayers and so I think it’s their right to know what areas we are working on and what we have achieved.”As well as attracting huge engagement from a wide range of audiences worldwide – including high school students, researchers and artists, discussions about the article has also led to new collaborations with other academics – and she is now also working with an industrial partner to commercialize the idea. This is Dorna’s fourth open access article and she advises that other researchers who work in areas that are of interest to broad audiences should consider publishing their work in this way.

Dr. Dorna Esrafilzade, Scientia Fellow in the Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia

Open Access Week 2021

This year, we are celebrating open access week by talking to a number of researchers who have chosen to publish their work openly and discuss how Transformative Agreements have enabled them to achieve more for their research.

Watch our open access authors

Dr. Juha Uitto (Director, Independent Evaluation Office, Global Environment Facility) gives some advice to authors considering open access for their next book

Kai Tao shares the advantages open access has brought him as a young researcher.

Read Kai Tao's full blog here.

Achieving impact around the world

From round tables, surveys and author interviews, to personal testimonials, we've been gathering evidence from our authors to better understand what publishing an open access book, chapter, article, or data set has meant for them. Click the drop-downs to learn more about how open access is helping researchers from around the world reach readers across the globe. 

Dr. Jennifer Wallis, UK

I've been told by colleagues at the university that they have used it in teaching and part of the ease with which it's been incorporated into teaching is because it's open access; it's free. They don't have to impose upon the library budget to buy another book.

Dr. Wallis is the author of Investigating the Body of the Victorian Asylum.

Prof. B. S. Daya Sagar, India

I would say that the open access model provides huge benefits to the readership, in particular to the readership of Global South. The open access model certainly attracts larger citation and download counts than the traditional model.

Prof. B. S. Daya Sagar is co-editor of the Handbook of Mathematical Geosciences

Dr. Ezio Bartocci, Austria

Q: Why did you choose open access for your research?

A: In Austria we have a special agreement between Springer and our university, and I did not have to pay the [open access publishing] fee.

Dr. Bartocci is the co-author of First international Competition on Runtime Verification: rules, benchmarks, tools, and final results of CRV 2014

John West, Australia

I had numerous requests to write blog articles and those requests were facilitated by open access.

Mr. West is the author of Asian Century...on a Knife-edge

Dr. Andrés Sandoval-Hernández, UK

A wider public was reached. People love to hear that it’s free to read. It reached many more readers – you write something, you want people to read it! 

Dr. Andrés Sandoval-Hernández is co-editor of Teaching Tolerance in a Globalized World.

Gabriela-Alina Sauciuc, Sweden

Q: How has OA increased discovery of your research?

A: We noticed a considerable impact in the media. The team also received a number of requests for collaboration, especially from graduate students.

Gabriela-Alina Sauciuc is the co-author of Spontaneous cross-species imitation in interactions between chimpanzees and zoo visitors

Dr. Cyril Dominguez, UK

As a scientist mainly funded by public money, I strongly believe that my research outcomes must be accessible to everybody free of charge. Furthermore, publishing my research in an OA journal increases significantly its visibility and therefore impact. More funding will be needed to cover the costs of OA. RCUK-funded researchers have access to a special fund from UK universities but this fund is not available for research that is not RCUK-funded. I believe that all research publications should be made OA and that a national/international fund should cover the costs or that discussion between governments and publishers should reach an agreement on increasing OA publication. However, I think that things are going in the right direction and OA is becoming more and more accepted and standard.

Dr. Dominguez is the co-author of Structural basis of RNA recognition and dimerization by the STAR proteins T-STAR and Sam68

Prof. Guy Madison, Sweden

A greater spread, in particular to non-academics, is something which has been very useful for the part of our work that is of relevance for the general public.

Prof. Madison is the co-author of Objectivity and realms of explanation in academic journal articles concerning sex/gender: a comparison of Gender studies and the other social sciences

Prof. Paul Williams, UK

Q: What possibilities has OA opened up for your research?

A: My paper on how climate change is increasing atmospheric turbulence, causing bumpier flights, reached a much larger audience by being open access.

Prof. Williams is the author of Increased light, moderate, and severe clear-air turbulence in response to climate change

How open access impact measures up

We've released reports and case studies that show the impact of open access publishing

The breadth and scale of our open access publishing enables us to look at impact using bibliometric data. Metrics can help to show the real tangible impact of choosing open access.

This includes downloads (article, chapter or book downloads), to show readership, citations, showing academic attention, and altmetric data, as a proxy for wider public attention. We have looked at these three measures for both open access books, and hybrid open access journals. In both cases we found an open access advantage with increased downloads, citations and online attention for OA compared to non-OA.