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Choosing open access

Fuller, R.A., Lee, J.R. & Watson, J.E.M. 2014. Choosing open access. Conservation Biology, 28, 1443-1444.

Most of the conservation scientists known to us have a strong personal desire to ensure their work is accessible to, and indeed used by, those implementing management and developing policy as well as society at large. Indeed, conservation scientists are increasingly engaging in innovative methods of communication such as writing summaries for traditional and social media. It is thus a poor reflection on the state of accessibility of conservation science that more than 95% of our papers published since 2000 do not meet basic international standards for open access, a much poorer record than that achieved by evolutionary biology (Fuller et al. 2014). Moreover, only 9% of our scientific publications are freely downloadable. One of the primary hurdles limiting consumption of our science, particularly by the scientifically literate practitioner and policy maker, remains resolutely in place; almost all of it resides behind a paywall. We believe that an urgent transition to full open access among conservation journals is warranted, but an immediate workaround is for more conservation scientists to choose to publish their science as open access. However, open access comes in many different guises, and there are pitfalls for the unwary, even when author fees are being paid.

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