Barriers to open publication of research results


Publishing online accelerates the exchange of research as well as increase the number of people with access to this information. Despite the fact that electronic publication of scientific research is already being done by many established scientific journals, critics (mostly publishers and scientific societies) say that electronic publishing would allow scientists to bypass print journals thus circumventing the peer review process; it would also endanger print journals, they say, because most journals have a policy against publishing work that has been published elsewhere. Editors fear that if subscribers could get all their research free on the Internet, they would no longer subscribe to the print journal.


In 2016, NASA announced that any published research funded by the space agency will now be available at no cost (excepting patents and material governed by personal privacy, proprietary, or security laws).  The free online archive comes in response to a new policy that requires that any NASA-funded research articles in peer-reviewed journals be publicly accessible within one year of publication.  This comes in response to a 2013 request from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, which directed major science-funding agencies to come up with ways of increasing access to the results of publicly funded research.  It also follows a growing general trend towards more openness in science research and academia more broadly. With frustration stemming over the commercial control wielded by the companies who own most academic publishing, some researchers are bypassing established journals altogether by uploading their work directly to the internet.  Others are illegally sharing scientific papers online in a dramatic bid to spread knowledge. At the same time, there are calls in Europe to make all published science funded by the public free.


In many developing countries, creative people are experimenting with local initiatives to improve the conservation and management of natural resources and the livelihood of those who benefit from them. Unfortunately, the lessons from one effort are rarely shared with others. Why? The costs of capturing lessons learned from different parts of the World and sharing them has always been very high. Research reports that are commissioned to synthesize lessons learned are typically years out of date before they are published. And when these documents are published, photocopying constraints make them difficult to obtain. In the end, the thousands of experiences of hard working individuals are lost. Furthermore even when they are published in time, they do not report on community experiences and actions. The reason behind this is that the hard work carried by local communities themselves without supervision of professionals or scientists is ignored and considered not to be reliable because it has not been undertaken using standard scientific methodologies or guidelines.

Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 4: Quality Education
Problem Type:
F: Fuzzy exceptional problems
Date of last update
20.08.2016 – 09:19 CEST