Most of the academic research is funded by funding avenues run by taxpayer money. However, academician publishes their research content to subscribed journal where the public needs to pay very heavy money to access it sometimes $500 for a single paper. The question arises over here why should the public pay twice for the same? Why a large gap between research & public? What we can do as an academician to avoid such critical issues?

1. Scientific facts on social networking

At present, most scientific knowledge is getting quickly transferred to the public through social networking. Whereas the scientific knowledge shared by people through social networking is a partial truth and incomplete to sensitize their viewers to view and share it. Partial scientific knowledge is highly dangerous for society and could be pathetic for the sensitive population. Hence the knowledge received through any other sources requires authentication with the scientific results. For the same, easy availability of full research papers to the public will be highly crucial.

2. Publically funded but privately distributed

Generally, the funding of academic research comes from the public but the paper published by academicians are not available to the public. Why is it so? To get the answer we need to understand the academic research processes. Academic research involves (1) actual research, (2) arranging grants for the research, (3) research paper writing, (4) communicating, (5) reviewing, and (6) editing. All these processes are publically funded and academicians are unpaid for these volunteer services. However, there is a requirement for a publisher who publishes the content, maintains it, and circulates it globally. Generally, publishers are privately owned money-making businesses. That’s the reason they charge for accessing the papers.

At present, the financial turnover of the academic publishing industry is over $19 billion. It is largely dominated by Elsevier, Black & Wiley, Taylor & Francis, Springer Nature, and SAGE. These five listed publishers are representing more than 50% of the total academic industry and Elsevier is the largest amongst all making it to be more than 16% of total market values.

3. Publishing research in Open Access journels

Open access journals can play a vital role to reduce the gap between research & public. As of now publishing academic research in many countries is changing and shifting to Open Access journals to avoid such issues. However, this process requires large funds to pay the publishers to maintain articles’ open access. For the academician, this is not an easy task, especially in low-income countries. Hence open access publications will not be feasible options for all. Now many funding avenues make sure that the research content is open access. For the same, NASA has opened its library access to the public and now Elsevier has multiple partners with the research community to empower open science.

4. Publishing research in popular media

In this case, popular media can help academicians to transform academic research into society and for societal benefits. Whereas, transforming scientific work for common people will not be an easy task. This is achievable if popular media people work together with the academician. At present, many popular media are attempting to transform scientific research for the common people. But they leave many scientific gaps due to a lack of understanding. On other hand, academicians alone are not reachable to the readers. Hence both professionals must work together for the betterment of society.

5. Steps to reduce the gap between research and public

  • More research on open access journal
  • Publish with popular media
  • Involvement of the public in the research
  • Shift research language to plain language
  • Encouragement of public participation in the research
  • Establishment of a healthy relationship between scholar and public
  • Equity credit should be given to open access journal or popular media


Complete public access to scientific research is highly critical for the development of society. At the same time translation of scientific content for the public is important for the transformation. Therefore, academicians should work with popular media to bring the research to the public and make sure the orientation of research is towards the public. In some cases, the involvement of the public in research is critical sometimes as a reviewer too.

To encourage more research content in the public, research published in open access or popular media should have equity values. There should be an assessment and monitoring practices for scientific content in popular media like impact factors or citation. Remember, for a healthy democracy, we need well informed and well-educated society.

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