Martin Weller of the Open Knowledge Foundation recently discussed what he refers to as the “great open access swindle.” He writes, “Just to be clear from the outset, I am an advocate for open access, and long ago took a stance to only publish OA and to only review for OA. I’m not suggesting here that open access is itself a swindle, but rather that the current implementation, in particular commercial publishers adopting Gold OA, is problematic. In my digital scholarship book, I made two pleas, the first was for open access publishing, and the second was for scholars to own the process of change. On this second point, the book ends thus:”

He quotes himself, “This is a period of transition for scholarship, as significant as any other in its history, from the founding of universities to the establishment of peer review and the scientific method. It is also a period that holds tension and even some paradoxes: it is both business as usual and yet a time of considerable change; individual scholars are being highly innovative and yet the overall picture is one of reluctance; technology is creating new opportunities while simultaneously generating new concerns and problems. …For scholars it should not be a case of you see what goes, you see what stays, you see what comes, but rather you *determine* what goes, what stays and what comes.”

Weller adds, “The open access element has proceeded faster than even I imagined when writing this back in 2010/2011. The Finch Report can be seen as the crowning achievement of the open access movement, in setting out a structure for all UK scholarly articles to be published as open access. But in rather typical ‘you academics are never happy’ mode I’ve become increasingly unhappy about the route Open Access is taking. And the reason is that it fails to meet the second of my exhortations, in that it is a method being determined by the publishing industry and not by academics themselves.”

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Image: Courtesy Flickr/ Nisha A