The publish or perish philosophy in academics has been part of a scholar’s career for decades. As publishing opportunities increase in the Digital Era, this requirement is only increasing in pressure. Scholars are expected to overcome the global competition for research funding, generate innovative and unique ideas, keep up with all of their myriad responsibilities, and engage in research that is published in legitimate journals.
These high expectations can be difficult for many scholars to reach, particularly when it comes to finding a prestigious journal that will accept their work. The journal publishing process is complex and time-consuming. But shortcuts like PLOS journals, a publishing company that prides itself on being nonprofit and open-access in the fields of science, technology and medicine, are regularly becoming part of the accepted academic research process. In a time when the traditional methods are being revamped in favor of technology and efficiency, it’s tempting for scholars to turn to PLOS.
Open Access Changes the Landscape of Publishing
Journal publishers like PLOS wouldn’t have existed prior to open access and the Digital Era. But now, consumers are the primary driver of sales and business decisions. Publishers can’t argue with the billions of people who have demonstrated their preference for deriving their information and making their purchases online. To that end, paper journal subscription service popularity has diminished since the Digital Era has offered more options with open access publishing. Since OA journals are cheaper and accessible instantly, it’s not surprising that this is the preferred method of readership today.
Publishers have joined in to develop hybrid methods of paper and online open access journal offerings. Many open access mediums are free, so they are preferred by the average reader. But scholars who know that free doesn’t always mean reputable often don’t mind paying a small fee for a downloaded version.
Yet, authors want to get their work published where the largest audience is likely to be, even if they have to pay for the privilege. They know that the more their article is viewed, the higher the chances that it will be cited become. This increased citation improves their scholarly impact and ultimately increases their potential to get approved for scholarships or career path trajectories.
Open access is also tempting for many authors because when an article is published in a journal, the publisher owns the rights, not the researcher. To get access to the article, the reader must pay for it, but they can’t reuse the information without express permission from the publishing company, which often comes at a cost.
With open access, the author usually retains at least some of the rights and the reader is able to use the information obtained within the article as long as they provide proper attribution.
Publishing in a PLOS Journal
One new problem, albeit a good one to have, is that researchers now have too many options to publish their work rather than not enough. PLOS journals are preferred today because they offer benefits such as:
● An integrity-filled process of choosing articles based on how valid the science behind it is, how rigorous the methodology contained is, and the qualification of meeting high levels of ethical standards.
● A wider audience base, since the research is available to everyone immediately. There are no restrictions on using the work, the articles are highly accessible and discoverable, and anyone can read them.
● The vast array of disciplines connected together in the PLOS community.
● A reduction in the publication turnover time, including a fast but thorough peer review process.
Because PLOS journals are considered to be legitimate in an era where predatory publishers are running rampant, scholars are turning to these publishing sources regularly.