The first reason that open access matters for a researcher is the simple fact of citation advantage. SPARC Europe finds there is an open access citation advantage in 46 of the 70 studies they monitored, with no advantage recorded in only 17 of the studies covered. Another study found a 400% increase in citation for physics papers uploaded to arXiv prior to publishing versus comparable papers in the same journals. Times Higher Education reports twice the download rate for open access articles against their behind the paywall hidden counterparts. Open access is a verifiable way to increase the reach and impact any given piece of published research output may have.
Open access increases the diversity of publishing options for researchers, beyond the traditional for-profit journals model towards the university playing a decisive role in research publication. UCL Press has been recently re-launched as an open access only publisher, offering a range of periodical and monograph publishing options, the Open Library of Humanities is a non-profit organisation funded via universities paying a yearly membership fee of $800 and playing a role in the direction of the journal platform. The wide range of publications found in both the Directory of Open Access Journals and the Directory of Open Access Books gives a sense of the growing content and the scale of the potential audience for open access articles and monographs.
The Repository and Research Information Team has initiated an open access advocacy network for members of the Queen Mary University of London community to participate in. This network hopes to widen the reach of the open access message, as well as coordinate events, talks and articles for the QMUL Library website on the wider open access agenda. If you want to get involved, you can join the email list here or contact the Repository and Research Information Team.