Open Access—Are the Barriers to Change Receding?

The move from subscription only publishing of scholarly articles to open access has been much slower than previously anticipated by many Open Access (OA) advocates. Despite the many advantages that OA offers, this particular branch of E-commerce imposes several formidable barriers to change.

A framework conceptualizing these barriers that was developed over a decade ago was revisited to see if the significance of these barriers has changed. Nowadays, building the IT infrastructure, support from indexing services and finding a sustainable business model are no longer important barriers. For gold OA publishing the academic reward system is still a major obstacle, whereas more marketing and critical mass is needed for both gold OA and green OA.

Green OA self-archiving is still also strongly affected by what subscription publishers allow. In the overall balance the situation has nevertheless improved significantly.


The Transition to Open Access This report…

The Transition to…Open Access :

“This report describes and draws conclusions from the transition of the Association for Learning Technology’s journal Research in Learning Technology from toll-access to Open Access, and from being published by one of the “big five” commercial publishers to being published by a specialist Open Access publisher. The focus of the report is on what happened in the run-up to and after the transition, rather than on the process of deciding to switch between publishing models, which is covered in in ALT’s 2011 report “Journal tendering for societies: a brief guide” – .”


Open Access and the Author-Pays Problem: Assuring Access for Readers and Authors in a Global Community of Scholars

Out of concern for its lifeblood—communication—academia is rushing to correct serious inequities in access and revenue distribution by embracing open access (OA) in a variety of ways: some journals provide access openly to all readers, some allow authors to pay for OA options, some share copyrights with authors to allow open sharing,etc.

For publication in some fully OA journals, though, publication charges associated with an ‘author-pays’ business model can be substantial, reflecting costs involved in production and publication of quality scholarly articles and (sometimes) significant profit margins for publishers. Such charges may constitute significant barriers for potential authors, particularly those at institutions or in countries with fewer resources.

Consequently, an OA journal for readers may in reality be a closed-access journal for authors.


This commentary is not a criticism of OA publishers with author-pays systems, such as PLoS, which has creatively faced a difficult challenge and stands as an example of a
successful non-profit OA publishing endeavor.

Nor is this commentary an attack on OA journals in general. On the contrary, this paper advocates developing a robust and vibrant variety of OA journals. Two of the authors are also publishers of OA journals that do not follow the ‘author-pays’ system, described briefly later in this commentary.


Planting the green seeds for a golden harvest…

Planting the green seeds for a golden harvest: Comments and clarifications on “Going for Gold” :

“The economic modelling work we have carried out over the past few years has been referred to and cited a number of times in the discussions of the Finch report and subsequent policy developments in the UK. We are concerned that there may be some misinterpretation of this work. This short paper sets out the main conclusions of our work, which was designed to explore the overall costs and benefits of Open Access (OA), as well as identify the most cost-effective policy basis for transitioning to OA at national and institutional levels.

The main findings are that disseminating research results via OA would be more cost-effective than subscription publishing. If OA were adopted worldwide, the net benefits of Gold OA would exceed those of Green OA. However, we are not in an OA world, nor are we likely to be in such a world in the foreseeable future.

At the institutional level, during a transitional period when subscriptions are maintained, the cost of unilaterally adopting Green OA is much lower than the cost of Gold OA – with Green OA self-archiving costing average institutions sampled around one-fifth the amount that Gold OA might cost, and as little as one-tenth as much for the most research intensive university.

Hence, we conclude that the most affordable and cost-effective means of moving towards OA is through Green OA, which can be adopted unilaterally at the funder, institutional, sectoral and national levels at relatively little cost.”


The Inevitability of Open Access Open access…

The Inevitability of Open Access :

“Open access (OA) is an alternative business model for the publication of scholarly journals. It makes articles freely available to readers on the Internet and covers the costs associated with publication through means other than subscriptions. This article argues that Gold OA, where all of the articles of a journal are available at the time of publication, is a disruptive innovation as defined by business theorist Clayton Christensen. Using methods described by Christensen we can predict the growth of Gold OA. This analysis suggests that Gold OA could account for 50% of the scholarly journal articles sometime between 2017 and 2021, and 90% of articles as soon as 2020 and more conservatively by 2025.”


Costs risks and benefits in improving access to…

Costs, risks and benefits in improving access to journal articles :

“This paper reports on a study – overseen by representatives of the publishing, library, and research funder communities in the UK – investigating the drivers, costs, and benefits of potential ways to increase access to scholarly journals. It identifies five different but realistic scenarios for moving towards that end over the next five years, including gold and green open access, moves towards national licensing, publisher-led delayed open access, and transactional models. It then compares and evaluates the benefits as well as the costs and risks for the UK. The scenarios, and the modelling on which they are based, amount to a benefit-cost analysis to help in appraising policy options. Our conclusion is that policymakers should encourage the use of existing subject and institutional repositories, but avoid pushing for reductions in embargo periods, which might put at risk the sustainability of the underlying scholarly publishing system. They should also promote and facilitate a transition to gold open access, while seeking to ensure that the average level of publication fees does not exceed c.?2.000; that the rate in the UK of open access publication is broadly in step with the rest of the world; and that total payments to publishers from UK universities do not rise as a consequence.”


Open access journals – what publishers offer what…

Open access journals – what publishers offer, what researchers want :

“The SOAP (Study of Open Access Publishing) project has analyzed the current supply and demand situation in the open access journal landscape. Starting from the Directory of Open Access Journals, several sources of data were considered, including journal websites and direct inquiries within the publishing industry to comprehensively map the present supply of online peer-reviewed OA journals. The demand for open access publishing is summarised, as assessed through a large-scale survey of researchers’ opinions and attitudes. Some forty thousand answers were collected across disciplines and around the world, reflecting major support for the idea of open access, while highlighting drivers of and barriers to open access publishing.”