Open Access Advocacy: Failures
Leslie Chan, Denisse Albornoz
Open and Collaborative Science in
University of Toronto Scarborough
@lesliekwchan, @denalbz @ocsdnet
“openness is in danger of becoming
its own enemy as it becomes an
orthodoxy difficult to question.”
Steve Song (2015)
Purpose of the Session
• Share some failures from OA advocacy (largely
• Thinking differently and moving forward
• Limits of Open
• Hear your stories and strategies
• Explore ways to collaborate
Unequal contribution and participation in science.
Chan L, Kirsop B, Arunachalam S (2011) Towards Open and Equitable Access to Research and Knowledge for Development. PLoS Med 8(3):
Liu and Li CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 109, No. 7, 10 Oct, 2015.
an annual rate of
for 13.6% of the total
Fig 4. Percentage of papers published by the five major publishers, by discipline of Social Sciences and
Larivière V, Haustein S, Mongeon P (2015) The Oligopoly of Academic Publishers in the Digital Era. PLoS ONE 10(6): e0127502.
If open access is progressing so well, why are the
same old established powers flourishing more than
Why are the dominant commercial publishers still
making record profits, and gaining increasing share
of the total scholarly outputs?
And why are they still serving as the primary
arbiter of scientific legitimacy and academic
• Too caught up with licensing and “business
• Can’t break free from the “journal article” as
the primary currency of scholarly exchange
• Still addicted to the impact factor and journal
• Forget that research is fundamentally a social
Openness has not disrupted the current power
structure because it has been subsumed by the
dominant market ideology
Big publishers are much better at coordination
and at coopting Open Access as a “social
How to prevent predatory acquisition?
• Narratives matter
• What stories do we want to tell about OA?
• Diversify the notion of success (e.g.
measurement academics, quantative of pub).
• Broadening the incentives of research
• Reclaiming the core missions of public
universities – to serve the public good
… Moving Forward
• Open as a process, not as a set of conditions
• Collaboration across “open” domains
• Back to the “subversive” proposal ?
Let the new generation be the
driver of change