The Role of Open Access at Scholarly Conferences as Platforms for Scientific Development Might be Underappreciated

As academic conferences become increasingly important vehicles for scientific collaborations and partnerships, Open Access can further the dissemination of cutting-edge findings, especially in the Global South.

A Blog Article by Pablo Markin.


Non-profit scientific organizations, such as the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), perceive international academic conferences as important means for developing collaborations in both subscription-based and Open Access sector, as various Open Access formats, e.g., Gold Open Access, gain increasing traction across scientific communities. In this context, both for-profit and non-profit journal publishers have been trialling read-and-publish agreement with universities and libraries in the Open Access sector.

In this respect, scientific conferences serve not infrequently as platforms at which recent findings, policy recommendations and innovative research are presented, the application of which may be hampered by paywalls, especially as collaboration and partnership proposals need easily accessible studies and reports for their substantiation, such as for the purposes of funding or implementation. Large-scale annual conferences also tend to be major industry events that bring together leading or emergent experts, researchers and practitioners from around the world as well as representatives of global companies and organizations active in respective and related industry sectors. This contributes to inter-individual and institutional collaborations.

Yet beyond specialist media coverage, conferences also produce peer-reviewed scholarly output in the form of academic articles and working papers that directly affect research activity in scientific communities globally. However, without adequate funding conference participants from developing countries or cash-strapped institutions may be ill-positioned to cover subscription or article processing fees that publishing in Open Access journals may involve. This can limit the potential of these scientific events to contribute to the solution of global problems. Institutional partnerships, such as those between individual universities or their consortia, on the on hand, and governmental agencies or scholarly publishers, on the other hand, can fill this gap, while promoting research and innovation through Open Access to scientific findings and data.

This is especially relevant for researchers and organizations from the Global South for which institutional partnerships with journal publishers can contribute to increasing the visibility of local academic output, overcoming funding limitations and ensuring the scholarly quality of published articles. For instance, the international scientific conferences on nanophotonics and micro/nano optics in October 2018 and nanomedicine and nanobiotechnology in September 2018 in Rome, Italy, are events that are the product of collaborations between PremC as its organizer, multiple sponsors, e.g., Nanoscale Horizons, and journal publisher partners, e.g., MDPI, RSC, Wiley and De Gruyter.

In both cases, journal-level partnerships of these scholarly events with Open Material Sciences allow their participants to have their article processing charges waived, while making the full-text papers corresponding to their conference presentations available in Open Access to their colleagues internationally. Journal partnerships can, thus, help conferences become innovative platforms for Open Access publishing, while increasing its prevalence.

By Pablo Markin


Featured Image Credits: Optical Society Event, the University of California, Irvine, CA, USA, December 9, 2015 | © Courtesy of UCI Applied Innovation/Flickr.

This post is based on an article that originally appeared in OpenScience, 06/08/2018, https://openscience.com/the-role-of-open-access-at-scholarly-conferences-as-platforms-for-scientific-development-might-be-underappreciated/.


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