In a briefing commissioned by Research Libraries UK (RLUK) and the Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL), Alma Swan highlights the benefits that open access has for researchers, their institutions, and society at large.
The briefing revisits the benefits that open access has for the visibility, usage, and citation impact of research publications; benefits that are the more immediate the earlier a paper is freely accessible. These benefits, in turn, stretch beyond the individual researcher: by placing their publications in open access repositories like Surrey Research Insight Open Access, Universities develop a strong web presence, visible outside the academic world. This helps forge relationships between the University and business and industrial partners, thus contributing to the knowledge economy.
If open access is widely adopted by institutions, Alma Swan concludes, this will have large economic benefits, not only for institutions but also for whole countries. By freeing knowledge and widening our concept of the research community, the UK could enjoy savings of around 400 million a year.
Also see Houghton et al. (2009) on the economic implications of open access.