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Libraries around the world have experienced a sudden cut in budget over the years. However, costs of journals subscription have continued to rise without corresponding increases in libraries budgets. Each year, Nigerian libraries can only afford to subscribe to a very few low cost journals.
In short, Oren (2008) noted that the current system of scholarly publishing is unsustainable, as no library could be able to keep up with the annual price increases. However, Oren (2008) stated that the seeming out of control system of journals costs, has laid the foundation for the open access movement.
The publication of scientific journals began 1665 to enable researchers share their work quickly and widely and to establish priority of researchers investigating the same problems (Albert, 2006).says, journals published then could not pay the authors, hence, the tradition of writing for impacts rather than payment was in vogue and prevailed. But with the passage of time, "serial crisis" rooted in subscription price became barrier to information access and a serious concern to the stakeholders of scholarship. This was the remote cause of looking for an alternative model which turned out to be Open Access.
The primary advantage of open access journals is that the entire content is available to users everywhere regardless of affiliation with a subscribing library. The main motivation for most authors to publish in an open access journals is increased visibility and ultimately a citation advantage (Suber, 2006). Researcher citations of articles in a hybrid open access journals has shown that open access journals articles are cited more frequently or than non open access articles (Antelman, 2004).
Open access journals are scholarly journals that are available online to the readers without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. (Suber, 2006) Some are subsidized, and some require payment on behalf of the author. Subsidized journals are financed by an academic institution or a government information center, while those requiring payment are typically financed by money made available to researchers for the purpose from a public or private funding agency, as part of a research grant. (Suber, 2006).
Many studies have been carried out on awareness and use of open access journals. Bartle and Walton, (1996) argue that most researchers are still reluctant to the use of Open Access Journals; one of the major reasons for this is that they are not aware of what is available to them and what the services is capable of doing. In a similar fashion, the results of the user survey, at the University of Hong Kong library (Woo, 2005; cited by Korobili, Tilikidou & Delistarou 2005) shows that 68.8 percent of the respondents prefer to use open access journals compared to 31.2 percent who prefer to use printed journals. In Nigeria, studies such as those of Ureighe, Oroke and Ekruyota (2006) and Ajuwa (2003) found that access to and use open access resources is still low, the factors that may be accountable for the low use may be awareness and attitude of researchers.
Applebee, and Clayton, (1996) also found that ease, convenience, and accessibility were major factors influencing academic OAJ use.
Okoye, & Ejikeme, (2010) indicated that with open access, articles can be accessed online free of charge. He identified inadequate skills to navigate the internet, unstable power supply, unavailability of internet facilities, permanence of open access movement due to unstable financial support, lack of knowledge of the existence of open access journals in the internet as constraints to the use of open access journals by researchers.