Open Access and the Theological Imagination

Authors : Talea Anderson, David Squires

The past twenty years have witnessed a mounting crisis in academic publishing. Companies such as Reed-Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, and Taylor and Francis have earned unprecedented profits by controlling more and more scholarly output while increasing subscription rates to academic journals.

Thus publishers have consolidated their influence despite widespread hopes that digital platforms would disperse control over knowledge production. Open access initiatives dating back to the mid-1990s evidence a religious zeal for overcoming corporate interests in academic publishing, with key advocates branding their efforts as archivangelism.

Little attention has been given to the legacy or implications of religious rhetoric in open access debates despite its increasing pitch in recent years. This essay shows how the Protestant imaginary reconciles–rather than opposes–open access initiatives with market economics by tracing the rhetoric of openness to free-market liberalism.

Working against the tendency to accept the Reformation as an analogy for the relationship between knowledge production, publishers, and academics, we read Protestantism as a counterproductive element of the archivangelist inheritance.


Open Access Determinants and the Effect on Article Performance

Author : Sumiko Asai

Although open access has steadily developed with the continuous increase in subscription journal price, the effect of open access articles on citations remains a controversial issue. The present study empirically examines the factors determining authors’ choice to provide open access and the effects of open access on downloads and citations in hybrid journals.

This study estimates author’s choice of open access using a probit model, and the results show that the cost of open access is an important factor in the decision. After a test for endogeneity of open access choice, the equation for downloads is estimated with the variables representing characteristics of articles and authors.

The results of estimating downloads by ordinary least squares show that open access increases the number of downloads in hybrid journals. On the other hand, from citation estimations using a negative binominal model, this study found that the effect of open access on the number of citations differs among hybrid journals.

It is a good practice for authors to consider a balance between article processing charges and the benefits that will be gained from open access when deciding whether to provide open access.

URL : Open Access Determinants and the Effect on Article Performance

DOI : 10.11648/j.ijber.20170606.11

Open access levels: a quantitative exploration using Web of Science and oaDOI data

Authors : Jeroen Bosman, Bianca Kramer

Across the world there is growing interest in open access publishing among researchers, institutions, funders and publishers alike. It is assumed that open access levels are growing, but hitherto the exact levels and patterns of open access have been hard to determine and detailed quantitative studies are scarce.

Using newly available open access status data from oaDOI in Web of Science we are now able to explore year-on-year open access levels across research fields, languages, countries, institutions, funders and topics, and try to relate the resulting patterns to disciplinary, national and institutional contexts.

With data from the oaDOI API we also look at the detailed breakdown of open access by types of gold open access (pure gold, hybrid and bronze), using universities in the Netherlands as an example.

There is huge diversity in open access levels on all dimensions, with unexpected levels for e.g. Portuguese as language, Astronomy & Astrophysics as research field, countries like Tanzania, Peru and Latvia, and Zika as topic.

We explore methodological issues and offer suggestions to improve conditions for tracking open access status of research output. Finally, we suggest potential future applications for research and policy development. We have shared all data and code openly.

URL : Open access levels: a quantitative exploration using Web of Science and oaDOI data


“Let the community decide”? The vision and reality of soundness-only peer review in open-access mega-journals

Authors : Valerie Spezi, Simon Wakeling, Stephen Pinfield, Jenny Fry, Claire Creaser, Peter Willett


The purpose of this paper is to better understand the theory and practice of peer review in open-access mega-journals (OAMJs). OAMJs typically operate a “soundness-only” review policy aiming to evaluate only the rigour of an article, not the novelty or significance of the research or its relevance to a particular community, with these elements being left for “the community to decide” post-publication.


The paper reports the results of interviews with 31 senior publishers and editors representing 16 different organisations, including 10 that publish an OAMJ. Thematic analysis was carried out on the data and an analytical model developed to explicate their significance.


Findings suggest that in reality criteria beyond technical or scientific soundness can and do influence editorial decisions. Deviations from the original OAMJ model are both publisher supported (in the form of requirements for an article to be “worthy” of publication) and practice driven (in the form of some reviewers and editors applying traditional peer review criteria to OAMJ submissions). Also publishers believe post-publication evaluation of novelty, significance and relevance remains problematic.


The study is based on unprecedented access to senior publishers and editors, allowing insight into their strategic and operational priorities.

The paper is the first to report in-depth qualitative data relating specifically to soundness-only peer review for OAMJs, shedding new light on the OAMJ phenomenon and helping inform discussion on its future role in scholarly communication. The paper proposes a new model for understanding the OAMJ approach to quality assurance, and how it is different from traditional peer review.

URL : “Let the community decide”? The vision and reality of soundness-only peer review in open-access mega-journals


The Dutch Approach to Achieving Open Access

Authors : Maria A.M. Heijne, Wilma J.S.M. van Wezenbeek

In this paper, the authors – both of whom are library directors and involved in the contract negotiations with the bigger scientific publishers – present the conditions that formed the Dutch approach in these negotiations.

A combination of clear political support, a powerful delegation, a unique bargaining model and fidelity to their principles geared the Dutch to their success in achieving open access. The authors put these joint license and open access negotiations in the perspective of open science and show that they are part of the transition towards open access.



Completeness and overlap in open access systems: Search engines, aggregate institutional repositories and physics-related open sources

Authors : Ming-yueh Tsay, Tai-luan Wu, Ling-li Tseng

This study examines the completeness and overlap of coverage in physics of six open access scholarly communication systems, including two search engines (Google Scholar and Microsoft Academic), two aggregate institutional repositories (OAIster and OpenDOAR), and two physics-related open sources ( and Astrophysics Data System).

The 2001–2013 Nobel Laureates in Physics served as the sample. Bibliographic records of their publications were retrieved and downloaded from each system, and a computer program was developed to perform the analytical tasks of sorting, comparison, elimination, aggregation and statistical calculations.

Quantitative analyses and cross-referencing were performed to determine the completeness and overlap of the system coverage of the six open access systems.

The results may enable scholars to select an appropriate open access system as an efficient scholarly communication channel, and academic institutions may build institutional repositories or independently create citation index systems in the future. Suggestions on indicators and tools for academic assessment are presented based on the comprehensiveness assessment of each system.

URL : Completeness and overlap in open access systems: Search engines, aggregate institutional repositories and physics-related open sources


Open Access in the United Kingdom

Author : Martin Paul Eve

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has been a leader in the advance towards open access (OA) to scholarship and research. Indeed, a combination of centralized, state research-funding bodies, coupled with a nationwide openness and transparency agenda has created an economic and political climate in which discourses of open science and scholarship can flourish.

Although different parts of UK policy on open access have not been universally well received by those in the academy and those in publishing, there have also been two official parliamentary hearings into open access; a set of reviews and recommendations, headed by Professor Adam Tickell; and a variety of implementation strategies from different private and public funders and institutions.

In this chapter, I briefly cover the political and economic elements of open access as they have emerged in the UK, spanning: funders, politics, institutions, publishers, and academics. Please note that this chapter will be available openly one year after publication.