Friday, October 29, 2021

Guest Blog: Publish or Perish: The Travails of Publishing Open Access for the Modern-Day Clinician


For Open Access Week 2021, we asked one of our medical students who has published under our Open Access agreements, for a personal view on open access. Talal Almas is a final year medical student with over 100+ published manuscripts, abstracts, posters, and book chapters. While he fosters diverse research interests, his main work revolves around cardiovascular research outcomes. He later aspires to become an interventional cardiologist, using data-driven research to govern his own clinical practice in improving patient care.  He can be found at Facebook: talal.almas and Instagram: @talalalmas  

To find out more about Open Access including our current agreements see As well as publishing through OA publisher agreements, making a version of an article available as green OA has also been shown to improve citation performance. To find out more on how to submit to the RCSI Repository see  


By Talal Almas 

The exorbitant barriers to publishing open access continue to deter countless clinicians, researchers, and aspirants such as myself. In the modern day, the scientist often finds himself at the brink of a pressing yet time-sensitive conundrum: to publish research at the astronomical cost of thousands of dollars, or to remain sated with publishing under non-open access options. While the latter might seem like a no-brainer at first, the intricacy of the decision at hand becomes more conspicuous when one considers the ramifications.  


The ability to publish open access allows a researcher to disseminate their research to the scientific fraternity at an exponentially higher rate, dramatically increasing the outreach of a specific published article. In my personal experience, for instance, it is indubitable that articles published under open access agreements have, indeed, garnered a mounting number of citations, reached wider audiences globally, and elicited an exceedingly greater impact than their non-open access counterparts. Over the course of the past year, I have had the utmost privilege of leading and publishing a vast array of research projects under the open access license. This has been possible through the numerous open access agreements that RCSI has partaken in within the recent times. For a medical student with very sparse resources, and virtually no funding for any of the projects, such agreements have been pivotal in facilitating the scientific prolificity that I have been so lucky to foster over the past one year. Considering that the cost of publishing an article open access can range anywhere from 1000 USD to 4000 USD, publishing even an immaculate piece of scientific literature poses an insurmountable challenge to a medical student with sparse financial means. My research team, formed through extensive transnational collaborations, is left to convalesce, often being called upon to contribute a share towards the overall publication costs. Over time, such costs, even when divided amongst the authors, can accrue and amount to astronomical values, frequently deterring budding and exuberant scientists from publishing their astounding research.  


With the perpetually-evolving scientific milieu todayclinical innovation and transparency, particularly gleaned through a researcher’s publication output, have become more instrumental than ever before. In the modern day, the number of publications and citations a researcher garners across their publications often govern their scientific fate. In this context, publishing open access becomes somewhat of a necessity in order to bolster the likelihood of procuring more citations. For a medical student such as myself, open access publications foster a culture of increased transnational collaborations, which subsequently increase the overall research output. Indeed, were it not for the open access publication agreements that RCSI has recently become a part of, a myriad of the research projects would not have spurred to fruition, transnational collaborations would not have been feasible, and monetary concerns would have become the bane of my own scientific prolificacy. I am therefore utterly grateful for these agreements and to all that they have facilitated in my medical career thus far. I am equally grateful to all my collaborators, peers, and colleagues, who have all supported our research projects—cognitively, emotionally, and financially—in times prior to the advent of the aforesaid publishing agreements.  


Fortunately, I have continued to publish meaningful research, curate clinically-relevant research questions, and spur the data obtained to fruition so that we may be able to contribute towards ameliorating patient care—someway, somehow, someday.