What after Open Access?

It was a strange moment. I was sitting at the kitchen table going through my RSS feed reding about Open Access projects and I thought to myself: There are many smart people working to get scientists to pubplish their research in  Open Access journals or ebooks with great zeal. Of course this is a good thing and I think it will probably take ten years or less for every scientific publication to be published Open Access if all these smart people keep doing what they’re doing. The other current options just aren’t sustainable. So sooner or later it will become the default and not long after that everything will be Open Access.

But then what? Will there be more time and money to start sustainably digitizing what is already out there on paper Or is that a completely unrelated project? Will the process of publishing academic work change as a result of everything being freely available?

I asked around at home. Most of my family have gone to university, so even if they’re not academics they know what I mean. They couldn’t answer the questions, but at least humoured me and discussed it.

Last Thursday I got the chance to ask a colleague: What next? This was someone who’s job it is to advance Open Access publishing so I thought at least she could get my train of thought in the right direction. Her answer? Well I guess that means we’re finished. Job done, there will be something else to do after, but we’ll see about that later. She was right of course, but the bluntness hit me. I want to think about that something else after. Thát is the interesting part.

More people will have access to scientific studies, but not everyone is a scientist so will scientific output improve as a result? With the popularity of the MOOC increasing will higher education happen online more? There are millions more questions I could ask and I may not get round to answering the ones I just posed, but It will be interesting to find out more about what will happen next.

If you’ve thought the same thing and don’t think this is jibberish and actually know what you’re talking about why not leave a comment?


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