Open in order to advance and share scholarship

October 26, 2017 – 9:00 am

This interview is part of a series celebrating Open Access Week 23-29 October, 2017.

Interview with:

Leonard Baatiema
Public Health PhD Candidate
Faculty of Health Sciences
Australian Catholic University (North Sydney)

How do you think open access assists peoples in need?
I believe people in need especially those from resource-poor settings stand to benefit from open access in diverse ways. Two key issues are worthy of note.

First, these are places where the populace have worst health outcomes compared to developed countries and thus clinicians should have uninhibited access to new knowledge of patient care. This can only be made fully possible with open access. With the wave of support for evidence-based practice in healthcare, open access will make it possible for health practitioners to ensure decisions about patients care are based on the best scientific evidence. However, this can be compromised severely by limited access to knowledge published in biomedical and health sciences journals.

Secondly, students from the developing world often lack behind partly due to limited access to educational resources and information. Because most educational institutions do not subscribe to paid journals due to cost factors, students’ access to current and best scientific research in such journals is impeded. This is an issue that can be overcome if such barriers were removed to ensure open access to all research outputs globally without constricted learning environments.

In sum, I regard open access as a vehicle to equitable access to quality healthcare as well as distribution of knowledge and exchange of scholarship. Scientific advancements must be for the public benefit and not just the rich and so greater access and dissemination of scientific knowledge will help address the needs of everyone. On the basis of these reasons, we should all say YES to open access to promote greater exchange of scholarship and knowledge advancement.

Why did you choose to publish your research as open access?

I am an avid advocate of open access publication, a position premised on one key imperative: to increase uptake of my research works and translated into meaningful health polices and clinical practice to improve health outcomes.

In line this, I believe that for any piece of research information to make meaningful impact, its content must be widely accessible without any impediment. However, we are still in a ‘’global research order’’ where only about a third of journals offer open access. Even with this, cost of accessing open access publication or publishing in open access journals further limits publication in such journals or limits access to the content of some research outputs, a situation which undermines knowledge translation, sharing and advancement of scholarship worldwide.

Such cost and access issues must be tackled in order to optimise the full potentials of research outputs to advance knowledge, improve human lives and make the planet much more habitable. Of course the potential reasons for the publication and access costs in open access journals include editing and publication costs of research outputs. Governments, donors, research institutions and other bodies must begin to support open access with some earmarked budgetary allocations to support such cost issues. This will inevitably promote knowledge exchange and promotion of scholarly works.

Find some of Leonard’s publications online in open access journals:

  • “Barriers to evidence-based acute stroke care in Ghana: a qualitative study on the perspectives of stroke care professionals” (Journal: BMJ Open)
  • “Health professionals’ views on the barriers and enablers to evidence-based practice for acute stroke care: a systematic review” (Journal: Implementation Science)
  • “Towards best practice in acute stroke care in Ghana: a survey of hospital services” (Journal: Implementation Science)

Learn more about Open Access:

Quote: we should all say YES to open access to promote greater exchange of scholarship and knowledge advancement.


  1. 2 Responses to “Open in order to advance and share scholarship”

  2. Great arguments regarding publishing in open access journals. It can definitely contribute to the equitable access to the information for students and practitioners from low income countries.

    By Rimante Ronto on Oct 27, 2017

  3. Hi Rimante,

    Thanks for your comments. Open Access has so many benefits for all people!

    If you haven’t already, check out our Open Access webpage for more information about supporting Open Access at ACU:

    Kind Regards,

    ACU Library

    By ACULibrary on Oct 27, 2017

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