A new Q&A in a series exploring the current state of Open Access has been published. This one is with Cameron Neylon, Advocacy Director for the non-profit OA publisher Public Library of Science (PLOS).


*Some excerpts from the Q&A*:


I think the biggest achievement [of the OA movement since 2001] is actual adoption: the scale and growth of accessible research content today is both large and growing far faster than any other segment of research publishing.


“By some estimates we already have public access to half of new literature in the biomedical sciences. This is a huge achievement, even though everyone at PLOS and in the wider OA movement would wish it to move faster.


“Successful repositories are burgeoning, pure Open Access publishers are growing at an unbelievable pace, and driven by an increasing pace of policy change from funders and governments our more traditional competitors in the legacy publishing industry are scrambling to catch up.”




“From my perspective there are strong advantages to journal-mediated Open Access supported by direct author side charges. When we buy a publication service we can and should set the requirements on immediate access and enabling re-use. But more importantly from my perspective it also creates an explicit market in substitutable goods, and this ultimately will bring the price of those services down — assuming that we can create an effective market.


“Alongside this, repositories are a critical means of increasing access at relatively low costs where journal-mediated access is not available or appropriate. There are transitional paths for different communities that rely to different extents on repositories and journals but neither in their current form offers a long-term solution.


“In the longer term we will need publication infrastructures that are efficient, enable ongoing review, and support wide-ranging re-use. These could be run by institutions, by communities, or by third party providers. They will have some characteristics of repositories and some of journals and some of publishers but will also be quite different.”




“Hybrid OA might be, or perhaps might have been, a viable transitional strategy to support a fully engaged effort of legacy publishers to move towards an Open Access footing. What we’re getting though is the use of hybrid approaches to lock in the existing inefficiencies of big deals.


“The scary thing is that libraries seem to be jumping to create big APC deals, which will have exactly the same problems as the big subscription deals. Alongside the problems of double-dipping by receiving both subscription and APC revenue for the same journal, and perhaps worse some publishers charging colour and page charges *on top* of APCs this isn’t an effective way to deliver a properly functioning market that brings prices down.”




“The single most important task today is putting in place robust and transparent mechanisms to report on policy compliance, pricing, and monitor the growth of access.


“This may seem rather prosaic but we have wildly different estimates of the proportion and quantity of OA. Much of the fragmentation in today’s debate is caused by people building arguments on contradictory data. And it has been too easy for institutions and funders to announce mandates without systems to monitor their success, let alone enforce them.”


The Q&A can be read here: