Following the tenth anniversary of Open Access Week, the Director of the Australasian Open Access Strategy Group, Virginia Barbour, has written about the evolution of open access and the obstacles that may have so far prevented it from reaching its full potential.
Huge progress has been made in open access publication over the past decade, which has seen the emergence of thousands of open access journals and institutional repositories where readers can access research papers free of charge. The move away from subscription-only access has, however, been relatively slow, possibly due at least in part to a lack of incentive for commercial publishers. The author cites The Netherlands as an example where strong leadership has strengthened the move towards an open access business model, and also highlights promising steps that have been taken in Australia.
The author points out that the aim of open access should not simply be to make papers available to read. Open access is an essential step towards maximising collaboration to address global issues such as health inequity and poverty. The author concludes that efforts are needed in establishing the infrastructure and policies necessary to fully achieve this.