The Reality of Open-Access Journal Articles, from The Chronicle of Higher Education

Cutting right to the chase:

It is time to move beyond rehashing tired arguments about whether open access poses a threat to publishers, professional societies, or research budgets. We should begin to discuss how best to use what open access gives us: the unfettered availability of scholarly literature.

The authors, from PLoS, practically spell out a research agenda. Here are their questions on topics close to my heart:

How will the role of the research library change, as open-access scholarly communication becomes more widely practiced? To what extent will librarians be freed from the burdens of subscription management?

Will libraries continue to serve as intermediaries through which researchers find open-access information, as well as that available only through subscription, and how?

Those questions relate not just to academic libraries, but to the mission of colleges and universities. The time has come for a comprehensive review of how best to pay for the dissemination of professors’ work.

Scott, this one’s for you:

…what kinds of discoveries might result from searchable, open archives of peer-reviewed, full-text scientific literature? The aggregation of gene sequences in a single, freely accessible information space (GenBank) has spawned entire fields of research…