An Open Letter On Open Access

An Open Letter On Open Access

We have all surely imagined a world where equitable and free access to quality research results in more informed and empowered societies [individuals] that allow the world to collectively innovate and advance without the barriers that exist in today's research environments. It’s simple, right? Everyone deserves the best information to make decisions in their lives and communities. 

The mission to make the world’s quality research content available to all without access being determined by institutional affiliation and budget is clear; we now have all sorts of new publishing business models emerging and taking strong posture to provide all the choices an author could desire. More and more authors will choose to make their research “open” for the love of the science, people, and progress in general each year. 

So why are we still talking about it? Why aren’t we “done”? 

In large part because making research content and software “open” AKA free is just the start. I challenge you to open your mind to think about the environmental and social factors that will continue to impact our industry as it shifts to open and think about how your choices and behaviors each day can help us to move in the right direction, for the love of humanity and information science. 

  1. How do we ensure equitable compensation for all research contributors from authors and peer reviewers to librarians, publishers and technologists to infrastructure and service providers? 
  2. How do we continue to ensure quality, more specifically the opportunity or ability to discover and discern quality research as markets organically evolve to be more  - or mostly - open? (Think about scrolling Netflix or YouTube…)
  3. How will users’ expectations for discovery and access experiences evolve over the coming years and how will we need to adapt and evolve? 
  4. How does equal opportunity manifest itself in real life today? In the next decade? Free doesn’t mean I can find it or have the tools or skills to find the right content. 

Like any important initiatives driven by community, we can realize the future of our dreams if we all lean in the same direction. What choices will you make today that help direct this important project?