On the first look, the introduction of Open Access publishing is not accepted widely and most classical publishers like Elsevier and Springer doesn’t like the idea very much. So there is a need for libraries to explain the advantage and force all actors to become more open.
But what is, if the story is wrong? Is the plot that the publishers are boycotting open access the reality? What we see instead is , that open access is everywhere. Endless of youtube interviews, and lots of examples in the real world are available in which papers and even complete books were published under a free license. And even a paper doesn’t have the dedicated creative commons license, it is for sure indexed in Google Scholar and available in the local library.
If we are comparing academic publishing with the classical bookmarket, the keyplayer in academia are very open access friendly. That means, Elsevier and Springer are the forerunner of all publication houses. They are more advanced than Amazon and other mainstream publishers who are not talking about creative commons and free to the reader information. It is correct, that Open Access is a new development which was not there before the year 2000. But in the last 10 years lots have changed, and especially the policatical preasure to publish all new paper only under an Open Access license has made the market more open.
Somebody thinks, that Open Access is something which is blocked by the major publishers. But in reality it is blocked by the authors. Let us take a look who advocates the idea the information should be free most. The first institutions who have argued pro Open Access were the university library. In most cases, they have echoed their customers. That means, the students in the library who are searching for literature doesn’t like paywal and costly journals, but they want to read the information for free and want to do a fulltext search in the content. This request was understood by the libraries and they are repeat it loudly. The next actor was the publishing companies. They have talked to the libraries and understood the principle. Major publishers like Elsevier and Springer are not complete confinced that Open Access is a great idea but in general they are with the libraries at the same position. Perhaps they are talking not so loud about the topic and need more time to introduce the details.
And now let us talk about the academic authors. They are the last element in the supply chain. The author has to submit a document to a publisher. From the author community only a little was told about open access, or even nothing. The reason is, that have to create all the content and if they put it under a open access license and are not payed anymore the authors will loose everything. So it is natural that in contrast to the readers in a library the authors are not the biggest fan of the Open Access movement.
Again, here is the supply chain: reader -> library -> publisher -> author.
From left to right the support for Open Access is lower. The reader in the library are Open Access advocates. They believe, that they have a right to read all the content for free. On the other side the authors have exactly the opposte position. They think, that the reader should pay and that the author is king. The library and the publishing houses are somewhere in between and communicating in both directions.
I think the most demanding task is to convince academic authors that they doesn’t need to be paid anymore and they should put their work under a creative commons license. It is hard in doing so, because it will change their social position. The author pays model is equal to not fulfill the needs of the authors but doing the opposite. Which means, to hold the authors outside of the chain and let only subgroup pass the wall who swear, that Open Access is great.
The overall conflict is easy to define. The readers in a library are pro Open Access. And the authors on the other side are contra Open Access. Introducing Open Access into the publishing market means, to give the readers a stronger voice and hold down the authors. Or to formulate it more explicite. The readers in the library are king, and the content producers have to obey. The reason why this total open Access strategy wasn’t realized yet is because the amount of authors in Academia is low and they have a strong social position. If a long term author argues against Open Access he won’t get any problems with his publishing house, because he is a well known author who is able to produce high quality content. An alternative is not available so he can’t ignored. The more efficient answer to the problem is, to increase the number of authors so that the overall system is no longer depended on authors who are asking for money and who are against Open Access. Before a publisher can reject a certain author the publisher needs an alternative who can write the same paper without getting paid. And this transition to Open Access friendly authors is indeed the bottleneck. The time until an untrained student is able to write scholarly paper suited for a journal can take a decade or two. And if the remaining authors are creating some kind of labor union to boycott Open Access at all, it is hard to hold against it.
What the Open Access movement needs is a large amount of Open Access authors who are not proclaiming that they have authors right but who are doing everything the reader wants. This would help to divide the authors into two groups.