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Heading Towards Brave New World: Full Open Access and Its Discontents
Elena Šimukovič

Last modified: 2017-04-21


Open Access as a concept and practice has been around for more than 15 years now. But since recently, achieving 100% or “full” Open Access to scholarly publications has become a declared political goal in several, mostly European countries. Even more, in the course of the Dutch Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2016 a new “pan-European target” was set calling upon member states to accomplish the transition from a conventional subscription system to Open Access by 2020.

Accompanied by the “OA2020” initiative that aims at a “swift, smooth and scholarly-oriented transformation of today’s scholarly journals”, this kind of (inter-)national strategies suggest an image of a universal consensus among all regions, research fields and involved actors. What becomes further visible in related debates, is a perceived either-or dilemma with regard to so-called Green and Gold Open Access models, as well as a strong preference in favour of the latter. However, a range of “divergent” scholarly publishing experiments might be observed, challenging the pervasiveness and supposed inevitability of commercial author-fee based Gold (or rather Hybrid) Open Access publishing models.

Building on first findings in the context of a doctoral research project, this contribution will try to shed light on some of the underlying assumptions and neglected aspects in current debates. A brief glimpse at the theoretical and methodological framework from Science and Technology Studies (STS) will further offer a different conceptual perspective on the proposed “Open Access world”.

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