The open access future

A new report on OA from SAGE features roundtable discussions by senior librarians and industry experts.

In April 2012, the publisher Sage held a round table discussion with 14 senior librarians and industry experts about the role of academic libraries in creating and delivering an open access (OA) future. The report, Moving towards an open access future: the role of academic libraries, has just been published.

The participants set out to address a range of issues, focusing on how the OA landscape will change over the next ten years, and how this will impact on libraries, researchers and academic institutions.

The big OA picture

 Participants' estimates of the likely proportion of OA journal content in ten years' time ranged from 20-50%

  • International and national policy-makers will continue to support OA initiatives - driven by potential economic benefits
  • STM publishing is likely to lead the way when it comes to OA
  • The growth of OA monograph publishing will be beneficial to the humanities

 OA, research, teaching and learning

  • Researchers will 'do what their funders want them to do' when it comes to publishing
  • New subscription models must emerge in order to ensure overseas students enjoy similar access conditions
  • Students will embrace the ‘open' nature of OA and the use of social media to support learning will continue to grow
  • When it comes to discoverability, ‘recommender systems' are likely to favour OA

 An OA future for academic libraries - "the concept of the individual library is going to go away"

The barriers between institutions will disappear. There will be a growth in consortia working, shared collections and repositories.

  • There will be a shift in emphasis in the information access roles performed by academic libraries
  • Institutional collections may become less important while discoverability becomes more so
  • Information mediation and advisory roles will continue to be important. This includes information literacy and web scale discoverability
  • The shift to OA will impact library funding - but the picture is complex
    • The shift from consumer pays to producer pays will impact institutional budgets and is likely to lead to reduced library budgets
    • Libraries may take on responsibility for managing OA spending but some institutions place the responsibility with faculty
  • Libraries will continue to play a role in advising researchers about the OA publishing process

Key skills for OA

  • Explaining OA to researchers - in appropriate language
  • Managing relationships with key stakeholders
  • Understanding the information chain
  • Preservation and metadata skills will be important

The full report is available, free of charge, from SAGE.