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Driven by access: opening up the world of engineering research

Access to our shared human knowledge is a basic human right. This is particularly true when public finding is used to generate that knowledge. However, for engineering scholarship, the results of engineering research are largely not publicly accessible ​(Piwowar et al., 2018)​. This may be due to a lacking culture of preprinting or open access in most engineering disciplines, or to a lack of support from traditional society and commercial engineering publishers.

The case for open access in engineering is particularly strong from both a societal and a social justice point of view ​(Fleischfresser, Niemeyer, & Berg, 2016)​. In particular, lack of access to engineering knowledge can further disadvantage those living precariously with limited access to education and insufficient resources with with to purchase access to engineering expertise ​(D. Berg, 2017)​.

This is where we see opportunity, in the expansion of the impact that engineering scholarship can have on the world. As engineering researchers, it is our obligation to support such efforts. We can push our institutions to further these efforts as well by, for example, incentivizing impact over commercialization ​(D. R. Berg & Niemeyer, 2018)​.

We hope that you agree with this vision and will help Open Engineering while we continue to push for “access for all” for engineering scholarship.


  1. Berg, D. (2017). Open in order to open engineering. Authorea. doi: 10.22541/au.151029608.80979987
  2. Berg, D. R., & Niemeyer, K. E. (2018). The case for openness in engineering research. F1000Research, 501. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.14593.2
  3. Fleischfresser, L., Niemeyer, K., & Berg, D. (2016). [Editorial] Open Publishing in Engineering. PubPub. doi: 10.21428/12302
  4. Piwowar, H., Priem, J., Larivière, V., Alperin, J. P., Matthias, L., Norlander, B., … Haustein, S. (2018). The state of OA: a large-scale analysis of the prevalence and impact of Open Access articles. PeerJ, e4375. doi: 10.7717/peerj.4375

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