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Open Access and Scientific Societies

Doyle, Helen; Gass, Andy; Kennison, Rebecca R.

Scientific societies serve their members, their broader scholarly communities, and the different components of their missions in many important ways. Making peer-reviewed literature immediately accessible, searchable, and reusable to anyone in the world with an Internet connection is a uniquely direct means of achieving a number of goals that are common to most scholarly associations and of advancing the diverse interests of their constituencies. Setting aside for the moment the question of how feasible it is for societies to alter their journals' access policies, there is by now a broad consensus that widespread open access to scientific publications is good for scientists and good for science. Society members want to maximize the impact of their work—and articles that are freely available online are cited more frequently than those that are not (Lawrence 2001). Most societies are committed to catalyzing innovations within and across scientific disciplines—and open-access archives of full-text literature provide a valuable tool for sharing information globally in order to accelerate the rate of scientific progress. Many societies articulate in their mission statements the goal of communicating the benefits of their members' discoveries with the public—and open-access publishing is a direct means to accomplish this goal.

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March 10, 2010
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