Open access ‘seems such a seismic change’ | Research Information

“There isn’t a single challenge that runs evenly across all of the disciplines, but the biggest one we’re facing is how we can make open access work in a way that preserves what’s good about current scholarly publishing activities, and is also sustainable and allows for innovation. It’s very difficult to move past open access at the moment. It seems such a seismic change in how we think about the way we publish. 

In the UK open access has largely been implemented through hybrid journals, and the recent Plan S announcement is very firmly positioned against hybrid journals – so the system is still clearly being shaken up. There may have been a sense that journal publishing had settled down into this hybrid model, but it didn’t deliver entirely on the promise of open access and allowed publishers to preserve what they were doing without having to innovate quite so much. We’re going to have to find ways of working around that. 

A particular concern for people like me, a historian working in digital humanities, is how we accommodate books in all of this. The business models for book publishing are not really there yet, although there are some interesting experiments. It’s also the case that digital and open book content is largely excluded from ways of measuring usage. The price of a lot of academic books is an issue as well. Are there ways that we can work together to try to bring cost down?  That’s not an easy problem to fix either, but it’s an ongoing challenge in terms of recommending books to students and inequalities of access to this material….”