Image by Danny Kingsley and Sarah Brown
People are denied access to research hidden behind paywalls every day. This problem is invisible, but it slows innovation, kills curiosity and harms patients. This is an indictment of the current system. Open Access has given us the solution to this problem by allowing everyone to read and re-use research. We created the Open Access Button to track the impact of paywalls and help you get access to the research you need. By using the button you’ll help show the impact of this problem, drive awareness of the issue, and help change the system.
The Open Access Button is a browser-based tool that lets users track when they are denied access to research, then search for alternative access to the article. Each time a user encounters a paywall, he simply clicks the button in his bookmark bar, fills out an optional dialogue box, and his experience is added to a map alongside other users. Then, the user receives a link to search for free access to the article using resources such as Google Scholar. The Open Access Button initiative hopes to create a worldwide map showing the impact of denied access to research. Every person who uses the Open Access Button brings us closer to changing the system.
The formal adoption of Open Access through an institutional policy allows institutions to become part of the evolving research and academic ecosystem where access to research is immediate and open to the benefit of funders, researchers and citizens. An institution and its researchers may expect multiple benefits from the implementation of an efficient Open Access policy:
There are indications that scholarly articles available in an open access version are more visible and are cited more often than those which are only available via the subscription journal gateway.