The concept of open access (OA) has been around for as long as web publishing. It is only in recent years that the publishing industry has begun to be noticeably affected by this growing trend. There are currently about 24,000 scholarly journals published each year by 1200 publishers. Of these, over 6,000 (nearly a quarter) are now estimated to be in the "open access" category.
In 2010 David Lewis (listen*) projected that in a decade half to three-quarters of all journals will be published on an open access model:
"... we could be looking at penetration of 50-70% OA journals in the scholarly journal environment in ten or twelve years."
(*see source website)
Census of Institutional Repositories in the United States by Council on Library and Information Resources
downloadable pdf 3.21MB
Open Access: What You Need to Know Now by Walt Crawford
Read Barbara Fister's article in Inside Higher Ed: Open to Change: How Open Access Can Work
Barbara Fister talks about the long and winding road to open access in Library Journal.
David Lewis has made a budgetary argument for open access: Library Budgets, Open Access, and the Future of Scholarly Communication
Open Access Publishing in Science in Communications of the ACM
Another Library Journal article on the philosophy behind open access
This article from The Guardian describes four simple benefits of open access publishing to the cause of academic freedom.
The 'serials crisis' is a phenomenon that has in recent years helped accelerate the open access movement. While subscription prices have continued to rise far beyond the rate of inflation, the numbers of journals and researchers publishing have also risen sharply.
the crisis is evident here:
Source: ARL Statistics
library budgets have not been able to keep up:
Source: ARL Statistics
Read more at The Association of Research Libraries' official website.
Read this interview with Sue Kriegsman about Harvard's groundbreaking faculty resolution to formalize an open access policy for their scholarship institution-wide. The movement began with the Arts & Sciences faculty but was soon adoped by faculty in Business, Education, Law, and Government. Now all university scholars make their publications available for deposit into an open-access repository .. unless they opt out.
See the original policy adopted by Harvard's Arts & Sciences faculty in 2008.
Furthermore, Harvard's Widener Library is home to the university's Office of Scholarly Communication.
See also this Library Journal article on the central role the "library lab" is playing in scholarly communications at Harvard.
Finally, see what's new at Harvard's Innovation Laboratory at their law school library.
The Berlin Declaration recognizes the Internet as the worldwide mode of communication for and preservation of cultural and scientific knowledge, and as such recognizes the importance of making online content as widely and freely available as possible, recognizing also the commitment that is required of scholars and institutions in support thereof.
A Guide to commonly encountered terms in the Open Access and Scholarly Communications World (including trade names and acronyms)
last updated: 11.27.12
Open Access or "open season" on traditional scientific publishers? Here's another interesting argument that took place more recently: Let's Have a Debate About Open Access
In the interest of fair and open debate and inquiry, here's an interesting one.
The Case Against Open Access Journals Rudy J. Castellani1, Mark A. Smith2
1University of Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland, USA 2Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA
"Technological advances in information processing have spawned open access publishing, which ostensibly allows for free communication among scientists in the spectrum of disciplines. Moreover, the expansion in open access jounrals, which is now alarming to the point of guaranteeing the failure of many, has been accelerated by government mandates requiring that publishers of state supported work make that work available to the public after a defined, and often short, period of time. The anti-free market nature of this new mandate, the interest by some proponents of open access publishing to undermine commercial publisher profitability per se, and the “author pays” model of financing among many open access journals, has raised concerns from many in the scientific community. Prominent among the concerns is the erosion of the peer review process (which is axiomatic with the massive proliferation of journals), betrayal of a public who assumes that high quality peer review is an integral part of science, the unfair disadvantage to developing nations, and the lack of recognition of the impracticality of a “one size fits all” model. Echoing, the Royal Society position, “Careful forethought, informed by proper investigation of the costs and benefits, is necessary before introducing new models that amount to the biggest change in the way that knowledge is exchanged since the invention of the peer-reviewed scientific journal 340 years ago. Otherwise the exchange of knowledge could be severely disrupted, and researchers and wider society will suffer the resulting consequences.”