OASPA – Healthy and Diverse Open Access Markets





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The project aimed to understand why a healthy and diverse open access markets were important and how this can be maintained by its stakeholders. 


Representing a diverse community of organisations engaged in open scholarship, OASPA works to encourage and enable open access as the predominant model of communication for scholarly outputs. OASPA sought to develop a better understanding of ‘the open access market’. We assisted in this work, in collaboration with a steering group of OASPA members.

An issue brief was developed to review the current state of the OA market and in July 2021 we ran two workshops with a total of 30 stakeholders, who came from a variety of different countries, to discover how they see the open access market developing..  

We found that open access markets do fall short of a ‘perfect’ market but do not yet suffer from the uncompetitive characteristics of paywalled markets such as having mini-monopolies upon some prestigious journals and a lack of price transparency. Open access markets are also becoming increasingly global, with more than half of all open access journals being published outside of Europe.  

Overall, it was found that market forces have been more effective in shaping a healthy and diverse market in open access than they have been in paywalled markets. However, there are a number of indicators that the open access market may become less healthy and diverse over time. These include: researcher evaluations and assessments, which favour publications in ‘high-impact’ journals, acquisition of open access publishers by paywalled publishers, above-inflation increases in publication charges and the growing popularity in ‘transformative’ agreements.  

We are a small organisation and our motivation to bring in a consultant to help run this project was to give us the additional capacity we needed to carry out a significant piece of work. Research Consulting absolutely delivered on that front, managing the project well and communicating effectively throughout. But an significant strength is the expertise the team brought on the subject matter which helped us shape our ideas and contributed to really meaningful planning sessions, but also was of such value in the preparation of written materials and documentation – that knowledge was always delivered in an unbiased and thoughtful way and is truly appreciated. Thank you!Claire Redhead, Executive Director, OASPA

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