Reflections on Open Access

This topic has proved an interesting one, partly for the addition of some MANG2049 students to the discussion, which has meant that we’ve had some extra voices and a little more chat. The talk around Spotify after Anna’s blog was especially lively, and it was great to see some people with really disparate opinions having a good debate about how things should be.

As for the area I was focussing on this topic, namely open access in academia, some good discussion points were also raised. In his blog and subsequent response to my comment, Charlie put forward his point that having content forced on people, such as in the U2 example, could give the entirety of open access a bad name. I’m not so certain that people would ever link the two, myself, but I can see how if people started to think that open access meant breaches of privacy, they wouldn’t be fans.

In my comment on Jess’ blog (currently awaiting moderation, thus linked as screenshot) I make a point that I’d previously not thought of in response to her (almost) unequivocally positive take on open access in academia. To stay afloat, publishing companies would have to find new strategies, and one that popped to my mind was simply purchasing any open access journal that gained a reputation for good work, and past editions of said journal. In this scenario, the open access journal world would be constantly shifting, making it even easier for bogus journals to pose as reputable ones.

Finally, and indeed, for the last time, dear reader, we turn to the comments on my blog. Din made a good point about how open access and a payment model could benefit specific researchers – if they could make certain tasters of work available for free, and charge for more, you might end up with a good system. Khairul made another good point, though more tangentially related, that open access could be the answer to the ‘file drawer problem’. While this may be true of a green open access model, I’m sure no-one would pay to publish null and unexciting research under a gold system, so it may only be part of the answer.

Thank you for reading my witterings for the last 10 weeks, and keeping the brain awake with your comments!

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