Open Access Publishing in Higher Education: Charting the Challenging Course to Academic and Financial Sustainability

The benefits, pitfalls, and sustainability of open access publishing are hotly debated. Commercial publishers dominate the marketplace and oppose alternative publishing models that threaten their bottom line. Scholars’ use of open access remains relatively limited due to awareness and perceived benefits to their professional goals.

Readership of open access publications is generally strong, but some people disagree that more readers leads to increased citations and research impact. Libraries have grown their influence by supporting and promoting open access, but these efforts come with significant financial costs.

Today, open access has flourished most significantly as a philosophy: the belief that the world’s scholarship should be freely available to readers and that publicly funded research, in particular, should be accessible to the taxpayers who paid for it.

Transforming a moral good into a sustainable publishing model rests with lawmakers, scholars, and institutions of higher education. Without laws designed to ensure participation by authors and publishers, Green Open Access cannot effectively replace journal subscriptions.

Scholars need to call upon each other to archive their work, utilize open access repository web sites to find quality content, and embrace Gold Open Access journals as a professionally beneficial publishing venue.

Institutions must allocate additional internal resources to spur more and better institutional and disciplinary archives, new Gold Open Access journals, and myriad other professional, technical, and financial services necessary to promote open access as a fiscally and academically sustainable publishing solution.


Researchers’ Adoption of an Institutional Central Fund for Open-Access Article-Processing Charges : A Case Study Using Innovation Diffusion Theory

This article analyzes researchers’ adoption of an institutional central fund (or faculty publication fund) for open-access (OA) article-processing charges (APCs) to contribute to a wider understanding of take-up of OA journal publishing (“Gold” OA). Quantitative data, recording central fund usage at the University of Nottingham from 2006 to 2014, are analyzed alongside qualitative data from institutional documentation.

The importance of the settings of U.K. national policy developments and international OA adoption trends are considered. Innovation Diffusion Theory (IDT) is used as an explanatory framework. It is shown that use of the central fund grew during the period from covering less than 1% of the University’s outputs to more than 12%. Health and Life Sciences disciplines made greatest use of the fund.

Although highly variable, average APC prices rose during the period, with fully OA publishers setting lower average APCs. APCs were paid largely from internal funds, but external funding became increasingly important. Key factors in adoption are identified to be increasing awareness and changing perceptions of OA, communication, disciplinary differences, and adoption mandates.

The study provides a detailed longitudinal analysis of one of the earliest central funds to be established globally with a theoretically informed explanatory model to inform future work on managing central funds and developing institutional and national OA policies.

URL : Researchers’ Adoption of an Institutional Central Fund for Open-Access Article-Processing Charges

DOI: 10.1177/2158244015625447

Pour qui écrivons-nous ?

Cet article revient sur 10 ans de discussions en France autour de l’accès ouvert aux publications scientifiques, en poursuivant deux objectifs. D’une part, il tente de clarifier certains termes du débat. Il s’agit en particulier de distinguer les nombreuses manières de mettre un article en ligne (par l’auteur ou par la revue, sur un site personnel, dans une archive ouverte ou sur un portail de revues, etc.).

Il s’agit également d’envisager une variété de modèles économiques possibles. L’article distingue notamment, outre le modèle classique de l’abonnement, celui de l’auteur-payeur et celui du freemium (financement volontaire par certaines institutions).

D’autre part, l’auteure prend position en faveur de l’accès ouvert. Elle souligne qu’il est déjà largement pratiqué en France, tandis que les revues de bien d’autres pays ne deviennent jamais, même plusieurs années après parution, librement accessibles.

Elle insiste enfin sur l’enjeu que représente pour les auteur.e.s comme pour les revues de sciences humaines et sociales l’ouverture d’un lectorat immensément plus large que celui des pairs.


Peer Review Quality and Transparency of the Peer-Review Process in Open Access and Subscription Journals


Recent controversies highlighting substandard peer review in Open Access (OA) and traditional (subscription) journals have increased the need for authors, funders, publishers, and institutions to assure quality of peer-review in academic journals. I propose that transparency of the peer-review process may be seen as an indicator of the quality of peer-review, and develop and validate a tool enabling different stakeholders to assess transparency of the peer-review process.

Methods and Findings

Based on editorial guidelines and best practices, I developed a 14-item tool to rate transparency of the peer-review process on the basis of journals’ websites. In Study 1, a random sample of 231 authors of papers in 92 subscription journals in different fields rated transparency of the journals that published their work. Authors’ ratings of the transparency were positively associated with quality of the peer-review process but unrelated to journal’s impact factors.

In Study 2, 20 experts on OA publishing assessed the transparency of established (non-OA) journals, OA journals categorized as being published by potential predatory publishers, and journals from the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). Results show high reliability across items (α = .91) and sufficient reliability across raters. Ratings differentiated the three types of journals well.

In Study 3, academic librarians rated a random sample of 140 DOAJ journals and another 54 journals that had received a hoax paper written by Bohannon to test peer-review quality. Journals with higher transparency ratings were less likely to accept the flawed paper and showed higher impact as measured by the h5 index from Google Scholar.


The tool to assess transparency of the peer-review process at academic journals shows promising reliability and validity. The transparency of the peer-review process can be seen as an indicator of peer-review quality allowing the tool to be used to predict academic quality in new journals.

URL : Peer Review Quality and Transparency of the Peer-Review Process in Open Access and Subscription Journals

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0147913

Open Access Publishing of Health Research: Does Open Access Publishing Facilitate the Translation of Research into Health Policy and Practice?

Health practitioners and policy makers translate health research into practice and policy. However, these end users have limited access to full versions of peer-reviewed literature in subscription journals. Thus, the essential information bypasses the people it is designed to help and the health benefits of medical research are limited and delayed. Open access (OA) publishing is one strategy to facilitate the translation of research to improve health. This review explores the evidence that OA publishing is an effective strategy to facilitate the translation of research and improve health.

The review examines citation benefit, knowledge translation, diffusion impact, self-archiving and regional responses, and found entrenched views about OA publishing but little empirical research.The many biases and flaws in published research lead to a high level of waste and limit the ability to find innovative solutions to the burgeoning health costs. Evidence is presented here that OA publishing would facilitate a reduction in these flaws and biases, reduce waste in research and facilitate innovation. Although there are positive signs of change, more action and more research are needed.

URL : Open Access Publishing of Health Research: Does Open Access Publishing Facilitate the Translation of Research into Health Policy and Practice?


Bibliometric and benchmark analysis of gold open access in Spain: big output and little impact

This bibliometric study analyzes the research output produced by Spain during the 2005-2014 time period in Open Access (OA) journals indexed in Web of Science. The aim of the paper is to determine if papers published in Open Access journals contribute to the improvement of citation impact and collaboration indicators in Spanish research.

The results are shown by scientific areas and compared with 17 European countries. Spain is the second highest ranking European country with gold OA publication output and the fourth highest in Open Access output (9%). In Spain OA output is especially high in the fields of Arts and Humanities (28%). Spain’s normalized citation impact in Open access (0.72) is lower than the world average and that of the main European countries. Finally, we discuss how these results differ from the so-called Open Access citation advantage.


Acceptance and Adoption of Open Access Publication (OAP) in University Libraries in South East Nigeria

This study examines the kinds of open access scholarly publication or information resources accepted and adopted by federal university libraries in South East Nigeria. The purpose was to determine the factors that affect open access scholarly publication or information resources acceptance and adoption in university libraries.

The study adopted descriptive survey research design. Findings revealed that university libraries accepts and adopts open access such as  institutional repository, open journals, subject repository, e-books, personal websites among others with the use of computers, internet facilities and services among others.

Inadequate internet facilities and services were identified as a major factor that affects open access acceptance and adoption in university libraries. The study concluded that open access scholarly communication or information resources are vital tool of solving not only financial problems in libraries in general and university libraries in particular but also enable university libraries to keep pace with information explosion or changing trends in libraries.

Based on this, it recommends that university libraries should ensure that users are provided with adequate and quality open access information resources for there is a need for access and use of information materials in all formats and acceptance and adoption of open access information resources could incite users to quickly access and utilize university library resources to a high extent.

URL : Acceptance and Adoption of Open Access Publication (OAP) in University Libraries in South East Nigeria

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