“Where there is a lack of consensus is in how open access should be achieved. The majority of governments, international bodies such as UNESCO, institutions, researchers, and publishers along with groups such as Open Access Australasia (the group I work for), and prominent international organisations such as COAR and SPARC are committed to a diverse ecosystem of open publishing supported through a variety of means, nicely summed up in the phrase “bibliodiversity”.
Yet a minority of commercial publishers, especially and most recently articulated by Springer Nature’s Steven Inchcoombe insist that the only route to open access should be through journals, and not just any journals, but specifically hybrid journals, which of course are the journals that make up the bulk of the journals that Springer Nature and other large publishers still rely on for revenue….
The consolidation of infrastructure and services that underpin scholarly communication is perhaps even more alarming. Whereas journals changing hands does not generally lead to them being shut down or amalgamated into other journals, for services the reverse is true….
Institutional and disciplinary repositories offer a community-owned, robust alternative. Their very distributed state gives a degree of stability and flexibility of approach that publishers simply can’t replicate. Repositories provide access to publications, but also an array of unique content including theses, research reports, audiovisual-content, code and data. They also support the retention of rights by authors, as the recently updated UNSW OA policy enshrines. Yet, publishers decry repositories, claiming that “Green [repository based open access] doesn’t offer the benefits of higher citations and increased downloads that come with gold [journal based] open access; it isn’t the version that researchers want, and is not sustainable for publishers”. However, the facts simply don’t support these arguments and fail to recognise the huge use of and, increasingly, innovation happening within the repository system.
Repositories have a critical role in archiving, preserving and sharing the diverse content produced by universities so it can be used by others and have the greatest impact on our society. Repositories such as QUT’s, for example, see a huge volume of downloads of their content — more than 1.3 million downloads so far this year of its just over 122,000 items. In Latin America, there is a distributed network of national repositories, La Referencia which hold more than 2.3 million articles as well as more than 400,000 doctoral theses. And repositories are now at the forefront of non-commercial innovation in open access, aligning with services such as overlay journals that review and distribute content held by repositories, interoperability that links outputs across the whole research lifecycle, and open peer review….”