Report by Jean-Gabriel Bankier and Promita Chatterji: “It is time to reassess how we talk about the impact of open access. Early thought leaders in the field of scholarly communications sparked our collective imagination with a compelling vision for open access: improving global access to knowledge, advancing science, and providing greater access to education.1 But despite the fact that open access has gained a sizable foothold, discussions about the impact of open access are often still stuck at the level of aspirational or potential benefit. Shouldn’t we be able to gather real examples of positive outcomes to demonstrate the impact of open access? We need to get more concrete. Measurements like
Measurements like altmetrics and download counts provide useful data about usage, but remain largely indicators of early-level interest rather actual outcomes and benefits. There has been considerable research into how open access affects citation counts,2 but beyond that discussion there is still a gap between the hypothetical societal good of open access and the minutiae of usage and interest measurements. This report begins to bridge that gap by presenting a framework, drawn from 100 real stories that describe the impact of open access. Collected by bepress from across 500 institutions and 1400 journals using Digital Commons as their publishing and/or institutional repository platform, these stories present information about actual outcomes, benefits, and impacts.
This report brings to light the wide variety of scholarly and cultural activity that takes place on university campuses and the benefit resulting from greater visibility and access to these materials. We hope that administrators, authors, students, and others will be empowered to articulate and amplify the impact of their own work. We also created the framework to serve as a tool for stakeholders who are interested in advocating for open access on their campus yet lack the specific vocabulary and suitable examples. Whether it is a librarian hoping to make the case for open access with reluctant administrators or faculty, a faculty member who wants to educate students about changing modes of publishing, a funding agency looking for evidence in support of its open access requirement, or students advocating for educational affordability, the framework and stories themselves can be a catalyst for these endeavors. Put more simply, these are 100 stories to answer the question: “why does open access matter?”…(More)”