Document Type

Engaging a New Conversation


The benefits, pitfalls, and sustainability of open access publishing are hotly debated. Commercial publishers dominate the marketplace and oppose alternative publishing models that threaten their bottom line. Scholars’ use of open access remains relatively limited due to awareness and perceived benefits to their professional goals. Readership of open access publications is generally strong, but some people disagree that more readers leads to increased citations and research impact. Libraries have grown their influence by supporting and promoting open access, but these efforts come with significant financial costs. Today, open access has flourished most significantly as a philosophy: the belief that the world’s scholarship should be freely available to readers and that publicly funded research, in particular, should be accessible to the taxpayers who paid for it.

Transforming a moral good into a sustainable publishing model rests with lawmakers, scholars, and institutions of higher education. Without laws designed to ensure participation by authors and publishers, Green Open Access cannot effectively replace journal subscriptions. Scholars need to call upon each other to archive their work, utilize open access repository web sites to find quality content, and embrace Gold Open Access journals as a professionally beneficial publishing venue. Institutions must allocate additional internal resources to spur more and better institutional and disciplinary archives, new Gold Open Access journals, and myriad other professional, technical, and financial services necessary to promote open access as a fiscally and academically sustainable publishing solution.