A decade ago, the open access movement was riddled with questions about sustainability, and viewed almost as insurrection around the Frankfurt Book Fair. A decade later, it is has fundamentally changed scientific publishing, although challenges remain. And at a packed, two-hour town hall in Hall 4.2, the Copyright Clearance Center examined the shift to Open Access publishing, and the next steps in its development.
"Now 13 years on, all big publishers have open access programs," noted John Wiley's Natasha White, though she told moderator Christopher Kenneally she was not surprised. An early employee at open access pioneer BioMed Central, White said she recognized early on the power of open access to change scientific publishing.
Frederick Fenter, of open access provider Frontiers, said the key word for open access now is that it has gained wide acceptance, and is innovation. Whether "stressing article-level metrics, improving the review process, and using social networking," he said the challenge is to "find good ways to disseminate the content, and good ways to make it discoverable, to make it more connected. These are the questions that arise now that people talk about going beyond open access."
Brandon Nordin, from the American Chemical Society (ACS) said he did not view the shift to open access as a shift in "power" necessarily. "I think really as a publishing industry we are about creating value," he said. "As a publisher, we have to constantly examine how we assist the author and the researcher." Nordin spoke about ACS's decision to use CCC's Rightslink for Open Access platform for ACS to manage its open access processes. "As a publisher, we had none of the transactional apparatus, and quite frankly, the mental workflows mapped in terms of serving [open access publications]."
Indeed, as CCC's Jennifer Goodrich noted, it can get confusing, from managing institutional and funder mandates to tracking and keeping track of licenses, as well as the need for standards, and array of publisher policies. But there has been a surprising level of harmony as publishers and authors work together on open access initiatives.
"It's just messy," Goodrich observed. "It's just messy for everybody right now. There is common sentiment that funders have upped he ante [with mandates], but the funders aren't the ones creating the infrastructure," she noted. "So it is really falling to the institutions, and the publishers, and both are really trying to help their authors so their authors can focus on research and publishing."