Having gained access to the internet again after some days off the grid in the fabulous Bahia region of Brazil, here is my next post toward the novice badge, for open access.
Open access and the academic library
I knew it was bad for the libraries to keep up with coughing up the cash to pay for the subscriptions to academic journals, but I didn’t think it was that bad. Twenty grand to access one journal, seriously? I agree that what publishers do is valuable, managing the logistics of assigning reviewers, copy-editing, distributing, etc., but is it worth that much in a digital world? I doubt it.
Besides the cost of accessing single publications, the multiplication of disciplines becomes a problem. Disciplinary knowledge becomes more fragmented, and now demands more distinct publications than in the past. Hopefully, many of these new journals, not bound by agreements with publishers, will choose open access.
As Suber writes it, “the volume of published knowledge is growing exponentially and will always grow faster than library budgets. In that sense, OA scales with the growth of knowledge and toll access does not.”
Open journals and open repositories
I wasn’t aware of the difference between open access journals (where peer-review and publishing is handled by the journal) and open access repositories (where contents are usually deposited by an institution or an author, whether the content has been reviewed or not). It’s good that both are available to researchers.
I am still concerned that open access journals are not really on the academic libraries’ radar. I recently attended a training session with a University of Delaware librarian, and when I asked about using their search engine to access open access journal articles, he said that they were not included in it. I understand there is an emerging standard for publishing open access articles called the Learning Research Metadata Initiative, but I doubt that without the support of academic librarians everywhere, this initiative will go very far.
Right to Research
I’ll definitely push to make my Ed. D. peers know about the Right to Research site. This is a very important issue that needs to be addressed, as new scholars will hit the tolls set by the publishers to publicly funded content.
Growth of open access
As demonstrated in Morrisson’s blog post, the open access movement is gaining momentum, and cannot be ignored anymore. Through the crowdsourced efforts of academics, open access is becoming a reality, and alternative to traditional publishing that will force the greedy publishers to take a hard look at their business practices if they want to remain relevant in the digital age.