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Open Access Riddles: An Impression of the Open Access Scene

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

As a result of a study that I have started for an Open University module, I have come to realised the huge misunderstanding around the open access publishing options that exist. Formarly, there are three options and to this should be added the alternative ways to self-publish or archive yourself, which can happen in many ways. Researchers keep giving the alternative path/s different names only adding more confusion to the melting pot. Agreeing on the alternative path/s in terms of the terminology we are using would make everyone’s life much easier, especially for those who are contemplating publishing their research and for those who already have but whose research had no impact.

The truth is that most of the confusion about the different open access publishing routes lies in the three main types, the publisher-free alternative is only the cherry on the top. This is because every single route is ‘open access’, however, some of these open access routes do not publish accessible research/journals. 

The angle of my study is that of the researcher that encounters all of these publications by these ”fully open access publishers” as they market themselves nowadays, and who finds that most of them are locked behind reading/access fees being as a result inaccessible. (I got the quote from an article Tweeted by Jenny Duckworth –

Although research clearly shows that accessible open access publications have the impact that not inaccessible open access publication could ever have, from the point of view of commercial publishers (It is what they are no matter how they prefer to call themselves) less accessible models of open access are more inclusive of authors based in the global south.

In this work, I mainly contrast the open access publishing views of both academics/researchers and those working in the publishing industry. I also explain the formal open access publications paths from the angle of the researcher, or baring in mind the interest of the researcher. 

Surprisingly, not many people have come to realise this barrier around open access publishing and, as far as I am concerned, hardly anyone has shaped the facts into the idea that many, if not most, of the open access journals and articles that are being published are not being published in accessible ways and through accessible channels.


Published by M.M.Pérez

Learning tech advocate and researcher, teacher and member of the Open University's MAODE team

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