Each year, Open Access Week is celebrated with the aim of igniting a worldwide push for the open sharing of knowledge as a means to address pressing societal challenges that impact individuals across the globe. To commemorate this event which happens annually in the last full week of October, we spoke with Dr. Antoni Perez-Navarro from Spain, to find out more about his work and why he feels open access is so vital in forging pathways toward fairer knowledge dissemination and addressing the inequities that shape societies.
I earned my Ph.D. in Physics from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) in 2000. During that period, I was engaged in Physics, in the fundamental theory of superconductivity.
Nowadays, I have three main lines of research:
OA is the first option because it allows everybody to access the paper, regardless of their economic possibilities, or the economic possibilities of their institutions. It is very disappointing when you see a paper published and try to read it and discover that you have no access. There are ways to get it, for example by contacting the author to get a pre-print. However, the more steps you need to do to get a paper, the more likely you won’t read it. On the other hand, OA publishing significantly increases impact and citation. My most cited papers are all published OA.
Lastly, it's worth emphasising that at my institution, we are strongly encouraged to publish our work OA.
The initial consideration is to assess my available budget to cover the costs associated with OA publication fees. These fees can often be quite high, making it a challenge at times. However, it's worth noting that many funders and institutions have recognized this financial barrier and have established OA agreements with Springer Nature to support affiliated researchers by covering the expenses related to OA publishing.
It is a very good option. I was aware of that because my university let us know. The process is quite automatic.
Publishing via the CRUE-CSIC OA agreement is my first option now. In fact, I look for journals that are included in the agreement. The agreement not only covers my OA publication fees, but also saves time because the process is quite straightforward.
OA helps with SDG10: Reduced Inequalities by reducing inequalities among countries and institutions since research is equally available to all, regardless of their origin.
OA publishing has the potential to play a pivotal role in advancing SDG4: Quality Education by democratising access to knowledge, fostering collaboration, and driving innovation in education. In my own experience, I've observed that making my work open access has led to greater engagement and collaboration.
I view societal impact as the broadening of our comprehension of the world we live in and the dissemination of this knowledge throughout society.
Researchers need stable careers instead of looking for new jobs every 2 or 3 years. Uncertainty makes that many researchers cannot think of societal impact.
On the other hand, they also need to know how to communicate with the public in general to disseminate knowledge. They need support to talk with journalists, who are frequently the ones that connect researchers with the public.
OA can help to share with society the true results. Many times, when reading news about science in a newspaper, the reference to the original research is missed or unavailable for most people. If the publication is OA, everybody can check if the information is accurate. It is true that many papers can be only understood by experts in the topic, but many are not, and, on the other hand, among the public there are people that are close to the topic and able to understand most of the paper. They deserve the opportunity to read research.
All the researchers that I know want to publish their work OA, but they find it expensive and unaffordable in some cases. On the other hand, many OA journals are being considered as predatory and that affects the professional career of researchers.
Therefore, I personally don’t think that researchers are the ones that need advice, but the institutions, governments, and publishers to find a model that allows everybody who wants to publish OA, to be able to do it. The CRUE-CSIC OA agreement is a good example.
Dr. Antoni Perez-Navarro, PhD
Aggregate professor, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya
Dr. Antoni Perez-Navarro is a seasoned educator at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya and Escola Universitària Salesiana de Sarrià with a proven track record in the e-learning sector. He specializes in teaching Physics and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and possesses expertise in TIC, Moodle, and Computer Science. With a Doctorate in Physics from Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, he is a dedicated professional with a keen interest in research areas such as indoor positioning and the utilization of GIS, particularly in the field of e-health.