Open Access journals are particularly useful to psychology because of psychology’s subject matter – people. Thus, the research covered in much of psychology is relevant to people and could be used by the general public more than in most fields. This idea is supported by the prevalence of psychology-related books that have entered and succeeded in the popular press, such as Malcolm Gladwell’s best-selling books that synthesize research findings in psychology with stories about the world and Eric Barker’s book Barking Up the Wrong Tree that similarly accumulates psychological findings with a special focus on the science of happiness and success to present tips for the everyday reader. Even psychologists themselves have become famous amongst the general public, like Dan Ariely, who published best sellers Predictably Irrational and The Honest Truth About Dishonesty, and Daniel Kahneman, who wrote the very successful Thinking, Fast and Slow.
In addition to the general public, psychology research is useful to many practitioners. Counselors, therapists, and social workers apply the research done by psychologists in their work to help people. Additionally, consultants and coaches could use psychological research to learn how people are motivated, work best together, and even be manipulated. Companies like Amazon and Apple, as well as agencies like the FBI and CIA, have also realized this potential.
Therefore, by making research literature available to anyone with an internet connection, Open Access journals allow for greater dissemination of research – and hopefully for a broader reach of benefits.
For example, the Open Access journal Frontiers in Psychology is the largest journal within the field of psychology. It covers a wide range of subjects – environmental psychology, clinical psychology, social psychology, animal behavior, perception science, human factors, and much more – which hold relevance to a wide range of people and industries. It is an international journal, publishing research, receiving funding, and recruiting editors from around the world. Its goal is to make the best of psychology research readily available to anyone who wants to access it. By allowing knowledge to have a longer reach, this journal hopes to accelerate innovation and improvement “for the benefit of humankind“.