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Open access: where next?

18 November 2022

This event aimed to spark engaging and future thinking conversations around open research and scholarly communication. With open access becoming the norm, we wanted to ask whether it is fulfilling the initial promises of fairness and inclusivity and whether we are going in the right direction.

Many researchers are deeply dissatisfied with the current system of publishing and rewards, but it is not yet clear what feasible alternatives could dominate instead. Current open access business models could lead to profound inequalities across the globe, but an ecosystem of different solutions is emerging.  It is time to be bold in considering what we would like the future of academic publishing to look like, so we can take action to create that future. 


Opening keynote

Prof Gina Neff, Executive Director of the Minderoo Centre for Technology & Democracy at the University of Cambridge and Professor of Technology & Society at the University of Oxford

The recording of this session is available here.

Further than privileged universities

Many OA conversations are centred on research-intensive institutions in Europe and North America, where there is abundant funding for both reading and publishing and significant power to influence. These institutions have the potential to favour solutions that disadvantage less privileged researchers. In this panel discussion, we hear about the impact of being excluded from publishing. 

  • Dr Juliet Vickery, Honorary Research Fellow, University of Cambridge and Chief Executive, British Trust for Ornithology
  • Dr Tabitha Mwangi, Cambridge-Africa Programme Manager 
  • Dr Stuart Pracy, Lecturer in Medieval History, University of Exeter 

The recording of this session is available here.

Further than the Article/Book Processing Charge

The APC model is coming to dominate the OA landscape, but is it helping us to fulfil the benefits promised by open access? Are BPCs sustainable and inclusive? Are there better ways of financing open access publishing? 

  • Dr Meg Westbury, Academic Services Librarian (Human and Social Sciences), University of Cambridge and Managing Editor, Journal of Information Literacy 
  • Dr Yvonne Nobis, Head of Physical Sciences libraries, University of Cambridge
  • Dr Joe Deville, Senior Lecturer in Department of Organisation, Work and Technology and Sociology, Lancaster University

The recording of this session is available here.

Further than publish or perish

The current system is buttressed by systems of research assessment that reward a narrow range of outputs. DORA offers some potential solutions, although there are challenges in implementing its principles. We consider how the University of Cambridge should approach its assessment practices and whether we can be at the forefront of change. 

  • Prof Steve Russell, Head of Department of Genetics and Professor of Genome Biology, University of Cambridge 
  • Liz Simmonds, Head of Research Culture, University of Cambridge 
  • Prof Emma Gilby, Professor of Early Modern French Literature and Thought, University of Cambridge 

The recording of this session is available here.

Further than traditional publishing

The article format evolved at a time when journals circulated as print copies. In the digital era, can we do better? If we could design the ideal format for research publications, what would it look like? What models have been proposed so far, and how are they working? 

  • Dr Mónica Moniz, Publisher & Programme Manager for Research Directions, Cambridge University Press & Assessment 
  • Dr Rebecca Grant, Head of Data & Software Publishing, F1000 
  • Dr Damian Pattinson, Executive Director, eLife Sciences Publications Ltd 

The recording of this session is available here.

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