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 Subject : Open Access: A slow evolutionary process (11/05/2015).. 11/05/2015 06:44:41 PM 
Marcie Granahan
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On October 23rd, NFAIS took an in-depth look at the stability, sustainability, and scalability of open access models, and the possible futures for open access (see summary here and photos here). The move to open access has been a slow evolutionary process, not a revolution. And, as a whole, the costs of high quality scholarly publishing have been grossly underestimated as we move from the theoretical to the practical (see full article here). Some journal publishers—such as Frontiers—are failing to make ends meet with current APC price levels, while others—such as PLOS—have raised their APCs to cover rising costs. Even PeerJ, which has been praised for its innovative membership business model, announced it will be adding a gold open access APC option for its authors.

The demand for academic research exploded after World War II, outstripping the capabilities of the scientific societies at that time (see full article here). Commercial publishers stepped in to bridge the gap and support the growing demands of the research community. In the digital age, as we strive to make scientific research openly and publicly accessible, academic research demands continue to grow. In response, the publishing community—both nonprofit and for-profit—are exploring new platforms, applications, software and funding models to better support the process and output of research.

While Elsevier and ProQuest have recently come under fire (see article here and here), they provide a significant service to the scholarly research community, and their heavy investment in new technologies and R&D—which can be out of reach for some nonprofit societies—has been a powerful driver of the open access evolutionary process.

OA is a complex and unavoidable dimension in scholarly communication. As the digital age has upended many media sectors which profit from content (think journalism and the music industry), the scholarly publishing community—while cautious and slow to supplant subscription models— seems to be on the right evolutionary path.


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Last Edited On: 11/05/2015 10:48:57 PM By Marcie Granahan
Marcie Granahan, NFAIS Executive Director
 
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