“When will everything be open access?” is the intriguing question tackled by a group of researchers in a recent analysis.
Piwowar et al conducted a study on the prevalence and characteristics of open access publications. Using representative samples (of 100,000 articles each) from the online databases Crossref, Web of Science and Unpaywall, they estimated that 28% (19 million articles) of scholarly literature is open access. For 2015, the most recent year analysed, this reached 45%.
The group then used these data to project that, based on current growth, “everything will be open access” in…2040. In other words, all articles published in 2040 will be open access. Although the group make clear that this is a conservative estimate, made without underlying modelling, they emphasise that the data point to “an era of universal open access”.