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The UK is well above global averages of open access publishing, and is at the forefront of a significant global movement which is fundamentally changing the way that research is conceived, conducted, disseminated and rewarded,” noted a December 2017 report for the Universities UK Open Access Coordination Group. Responsibility for driving remarkable change across the scholarly publishing landscape is widely shared, yet the evolving relationship of publishers and institutional libraries is perhaps the most critical.

Copyright Clearance Center’s panel discussion, “Collaboration & Community: The Transition to Open Access,” at The London Book Fair on April 10, 2018 picked up on these themes. The panel, moderated by Copyright Clearance Center’s Christopher Kenneally, assessed the state of OA today and laid out a vision for a sustainable and integrated publishing workflow solution that minimizes costs, promotes transparency and supports a range of business models.

Panelists included: Sven Fund, Managing Director of Knowledge Unlatched; Chris Leonard, Head of Product at Emerald Publishing Group; Matthew Day, Head of Open and Data Publishing at Cambridge University Press; and Danny Kingsley, Deputy Director of Scholarly Communications and Research Services at Cambridge University Library.

Stream the video here.

Transcript Excerpt:
CCC’s Chris Kenneally Talks with CUP’s Matt Day About The State of OA Today 

KENNEALLY:  So from here, we’ll fast forward to 2018 and where we are today.  Quickly, what is your sense of the status of open access, and describe what you think is the image of open access.  As you imagined it in 1998, it was a movement to free all those texts.  How do you think people perceive open access in the publishing and in the research community today?

LEONARD:  So in those last 20 years, I’ve worked on both sides of the fence for open access publishers and also for traditional subscription publishers, so I have a fairly rounded view of it, I would say.  And in 1998, I thought by now over half of the world’s scientific research literature would be freely available through open access, and also that within the next five years, it would be 100%.  Now, the fact that we’re still quite a long way from that – so we’re talking 20 years, and I think that research article you mentioned said we’re at 24%.

KENNEALLY:  Around about 20 million, yeah, and 24%, right.

LEONARD:  So that’s fairly slow uptake, I think.  You would hope at some point it will hockey stick upwards.  But I think in order for that to happen, something fairly fundamental needs to alter.

KENNEALLY:  Well, that’s what we’re going to come back to you about, because in your role at Emerald, you’re looking at the future of open, and I want to hear more about that.  But, Matt Day, that’s also what you’re doing at Cambridge University Press.  And as you listened to what Danny had to say and what Chris had to say, how do you see the state of open access today yourself there?  It was a revolution, but today, it’s more of a question of mechanics.  I’ve heard it put in this way, that it’s gone from Woodstock to Wall Street, from a kind of revolutionary movement to one that’s very much business focused.  Would you agree?

DAY:  Yes.  I think the day-to-day realities of open access are very complicated at the moment. The day-to-day realities of open access are very complicated and more complicated than perhaps I certainly imagined in the early days of BioMed Central.  I would certainly echo Danny and Chris’s comments that there’s a – in the early days, it was seen very much as an ethical, a hearts and minds thing.  Helping people to understand what open access is I think is still an ongoing issue, particularly for Danny and us.  But the mechanics of it have become a much bigger part of certainly my life.  Making it work internally so that we do actually – are able to publish open access material that goes through the system properly.  And for us, I think diversity is a big theme for us.  We work with many different stakeholders.  They have different feelings.  Some of them embrace open access.  Some of them are more cautious.  Some people are outright hostile still, I think.

So working with these different stakeholder groups is complex, and it’s evolving, as well, so that makes planning for the future very difficult.  The landscape is changing greatly, I think, still.  It’s definitely not at kind of a status quo that’s going to continue, I think.  So that complexity and diversity I feel is a feature of today.


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Author: Christopher Kenneally

Christopher Kenneally hosts CCC's Velocity of Content podcast series, which debuted in 2006 and is the longest continuously running podcast covering the publishing industry. As CCC's Senior Director, Marketing, he is responsible for organizing and hosting programs that address the business needs of all stakeholders in publishing and research. His reporting has appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, The Independent (London), WBUR-FM, NPR, and WGBH-TV.
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