Peace Science Made Accessible, Understandable, and Useful.

For Genuine Impact, Research Must Be More Accessible

For Genuine Impact, Research Must Be More Accessible


The slow migration of academic knowledge into practical application limits a field’s growth, impact, and the overall effectiveness of its practitioners. Open access journals make research more accessible by eliminating expensive paywalls and subscription fees.

In the News:

“Frustrated with the slow transition toward open access (OA) in scientific publishing, 11 national funding organizations in Europe turned up the pressure today. As of 2020, the group, which jointly spends about €7.6 billion on research annually, will require every paper it funds to be freely available from the moment of publication. In a statement, the group said it will no longer allow the 6- or 12-month delays that many subscription journals now require before a paper is made OA, and it won’t allow publication in so-called hybrid journals, which charge subscriptions but also make individual papers OA for an extra fee. The move means grantees from these 11 funders—which include the national funding agencies in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and France as well as Italy’s National Institute for Nuclear Physics—will have to forgo publishing in thousands of journals, including high-profile ones such as NatureScienceCell, and The Lancet, unless those journals change their business model. ‘We think this could create a tipping point,’ says Marc Schiltz, president of Science Europe, the Brussels-based association of science organizations that helped coordinate the plan. ‘Really the idea was to make a big, decisive step—not to come up with another statement or an expression of intent.'”

“The announcement delighted many OA advocates. ‘This will put increased pressure on publishers and on the consciousness of individual researchers that an ecosystem change is possible,’ says Ralf Schimmer, head of Scientific Information Provision at the Max Planck Digital Library in Munich, Germany. Peter Suber, director of the Harvard Library Office for Scholarly Communication, calls the plan ‘admirably strong.’ Many other funders support OA, but only the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation applies similarly stringent requirements for ‘immediate OA,’ Suber says. The European Commission and the European Research Council support the plan; although they haven’t adopted similar requirements for the research they fund, a statement by EU Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas suggests they may do so in the future and urges the European Parliament and the European Council to endorse the approach.”

Significance for Peace Science:

As with most scientific disciplines, the slow migration of academic knowledge into practical application becomes a limiting factor in a field’s growth, impact and the overall effectiveness of its practitioners. The expanding field of peace and conflict studies continues to produce high volumes of significant research that often goes unnoticed by the field’s practitioners, other academics, the public, and many other possible beneficiaries.

Various institutional and cultural barriers have contributed to the inaccessibility of academic literature and, consequently, its comparatively low readership. Chief among these contributions is a communication gap between the academic and practitioner communities. The consequences of this gap expand far beyond merely underachieved theoretical and practical advancement. Rather, the greatest consequence relates to the goals of the field itself: working to bring about a more just and peaceful society.

One role of peace researchers is to facilitate a bridge between like-minded communities by producing policy-relevant, actionable insight to policymakers and facilitate instrumental, contextual and consequential dialogue between themselves and the field’s practitioners. Likewise, academics from the field of peace science can perform a badly needed service by helping to inform those lacking theoretical knowledge regarding issues of war and peace, thus educating on the much-needed alternatives to violence.


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