Open-access: The Key to Graduate Student Success

Good afternoon all! I’m here with another topic, and that is open-access journals. Let’s jump right in! Now as you all may or may not know, I am a 2nd year PhD student in the field of food science. A big part of being a grad student is READING PAPERS! Yes, in order to become the future researchers of the world, we grad students must constantly being aware of the scientific advances made in the past. We build our knowledge on the foundations set by our predecessors. Unfortunately, in this world, nothing is free, including knowledge. Many journals require a subscription fee or one-time charge to view the entire article. These prices can be as low as $25 or rise above $100! Now being graduate students, we aren’t exactly rolling in cash, so for us to pay for each article we’d need to read would be just short of impossible. Some universities work out a deal between journals and the library to provide access to students so long as the students remain on the campus server. This is easily feasible by larger universities such as Virginia Tech, but smaller universities have a harder time footing the bill.  Alternatively, there are journals that provide free access to all of their articles; these are known as open-access journals.


In my field, I often use manuscripts from the Journal of Nutrition published by the Oxford University press. Now, the Oxford University press (OUP) has made it their mission to widely disseminate the highest quality of around the world, and what better way to do so then to provide articles for free. Some journals under the publishing body have even improved their impact factors and allow for drop box submissions. The OUP aims to continue providing free access to some of its journals and gradually increase the numbers.


Providing open-access is critical for the success of graduate students and the creation of new scientists throughout the world. I believe that what the OUP does is a step in the right direction of promoting and evolving the current education system. As always, these are just my thoughts and I’d love to hear yours! Leave me a comment!


Until next time,

Dr. Chaos, signing off.

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