Open access is a not an uncontested concept, with Chen and Olijhoek (2016) suggesting that it is more appropriate to regard open access as a spectrum that incorporates differential copyright, reuse, and author posting rights. Relatively little is known about open access publishing practices in educational technology journals that employ a hybrid model which charges authors only if they wish to publish via Gold open access. This study sought to explore this topic in the area of educational technology research by examining journals that dominate the area, that are not fully open access, but that in theory provide a range of publishing options to authors. The question arises as to how scholars can navigate this often complex scholarly publishing landscape.
In this study we sought to address this gap in the scholarly understanding of open access publishing in hybrid journals that publish research into the intersection of education and technology. Data was gathered from Scopus, Unpaywall, Sherpa RoMEO, and via manual searches of the journal websites, resulting in a dataset comprising the metadata of 8,479 articles. To further validate this data, one researcher manually verified the access type of each individual article via a systematic hand-search (Armstrong, Jackson, Doyle, Waters, & Howes, 2005). We analysed three categories of article access types: gold, green, and limited access, and collected data on their prevalence in the seven-year period from 2010-2017 across 29 journals. Researchers then performed searches of the journal websites to determine APC costs in US dollars. Finally, a search was made for each journal title in the Sherpa RoMEO database to determine its stated level of archival policy.
Our findings highlight that despite a growing shift towards open access practices most research remains locked behind paywalls, with open access publishing through legal means a minority activity for the majority of the scholars involved. Our research suggests that the complexity and costs of legal open access publishing in these journals may be inhibiting the accessibility of research to readers. In providing this evidence, and suggesting possible reasons, we hope to stimulate critical debate amongst the scholarly community in this area around how they publish and disseminate their academic work.
Armstrong, R., Jackson, N., Doyle, J., Waters, E., & Howes, F. (2005). It’s in your hands: The value of handsearching in conducting systematic reviews of public health interventions. Journal of Public Health (Oxford, England), 27(4), 388–391. https://doi.org/10.1093/pubmed/fdi056 [Accessed 23/4/2019]
Chen, X., & Olijhoek, T. (2016). Measuring the degrees of openness of scholarly journals with the open access spectrum (OAS) evaluation tool. Serials Review, 42(2), 108–115. https://doi.org/10.1080/00987913.2016.1182672 [23/4/2019]
Costello, E. (2019). Bronze, free, or fourrée: an open access commentary. Science Editing, 6(1), 69-72. DOI : https://doi.org/10.6087/kcse.157 [Accessed 25/4/2019]
Farrelly, T., Costello, E. & Murphy, T. (2019) Free? Yes. Open? No. Bronze Open Access Journal Articles as OERs. Available from https://farrellytom.wordpress.com/2019/09/09/free-yes-open-no-bronze-open-access-journal-articles-as-oers/ [Accessed 18/11/2019]