Purpose: The paper reviews and analyzes the evolution of the open access (OA) publishing movement and its impact on the traditional scholarly publishing model.
Procedures: A literature survey and analysis of definitions of OA, problems with the current publishing model, historical developments, funding agency responses, stakeholder viewpoints, and implications for scientific libraries and publishing are performed.
Findings: The Internet's transformation of information access has fueled interest in reshaping what many see as a dysfunctional, high-cost system of scholarly publishing. For years, librarians alone advocated for change, until relatively recently when interest in OA and related initiatives spread to the scientific community, governmental groups, funding agencies, publishers, and the general public.
Conclusions: Most stakeholders acknowledge that change in the publishing landscape is inevitable, but heated debate continues over what form this transformation will take. The most frequently discussed remedies for the troubled current system are the “green” road (self-archiving articles published in non-OA journals) and the “gold” road (publishing in OA journals). Both movements will likely intensify, with a multiplicity of models and initiatives coexisting for some time.
- This paper reviews the factors and events leading up to the open access (OA) movement in scholarly publishing, including the evolution and current status of the National Institutes of Health public access policy.
- Differing points of view of major stakeholders, such as publishers, librarians, scientists, funding agencies, and consumers are summarized.
- Open access has and will continue to impact traditional scholarly publishing, serials pricing, and medical libraries in general.
Implications for practice
- Open access issues may impact decision making in serials acquisition and management.
- Librarians should take a lead in communicating important OA-related developments to user groups and administration.
- Librarians can play major roles in connection with this new movement.