When presenting the academic publishing system to people who don't have a job related to academia or research, they sometimes ask me what they can do to promote open access.

What can a non-researcher/academic do to promote open access to research papers?

The "how to promote open access" lists (example 1, example 2) tend to focus on researchers/librarians/funding agencies/policy makers/students/University administrators.

  • Why do they want to promote open access? Is it just for ideological reasons, or is it because they have trouble gaining access to papers that they want to read?
    – ff524
    Jan 23, 2017 at 20:27
  • 2
    @ff524 It is often both. Jan 23, 2017 at 20:51

1 Answer 1


Some thoughts:

  1. Write their representatives in government. Encourage them to support open access mandates for publicly funded science.
  2. Write the authors of open access papers they do read, and thank them for making their work open access. Positive feedback, even if it's not career-altering, is always nice.
  3. Give to their local university/alma mater/etc.'s capital campaign, specifically to support funding to help cover open access charges for projects that don't have enough funding to pay for those fees themselves (often grad student/postdoc projects).

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