Forrester, A. (2015). Barriers to open access publishing: Views from the library literature. Publications3(3), 190–210.  doi:10.3390/publications3030190


Original research was conducted and presented as the final project for Contemporary Issues in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Medical (STEM) Communication and Information. The focus is on the barriers that have hindered the complete transition to open access in scientific publications. The study evaluated the discourse of barriers to open access within the library and information science literature over a ten year period. The analysis required proficiency in quantitative research to execute methods such as content analysis and bibliometrics using specialized software technology. Applying critical thinking skills to address the research problem also demonstrates competence in problem solving.

Submitting this article to the open-access journal Publications to be evaluated by my peers, then accepted, and subsequently published represents a crucial point in the scholarly communication process as well as competence in written communication. This transfer of information into the formal domain successfully communicates my research through publication and preservation.

Reflection on Learning Experience

As managing editor of the peer-reviewed journal Sustainability: Science, Practice, & Policy, I have an established understanding of open-access scholarly publishing. However, I previously had no experience as a primary author of a journal article, and with it the exercise in online submission, review, decision, and publication. It was a very exciting process, with the possibility of acceptance, and at the same daunting—both in fear of rejection and navigating the online submission system and protocol. I plan on leveraging my new insight from this venture as a user into my practices as managing editor to better serve our authors as well as to examine our submission/decision process.

My main accomplishment, however, lies in my transition from open-access publishing practitioner to contributor to the scholarly discourse. In the STEM Communications class, my work experience provided a solid foundation for our study into the formal ways in which science is communicated and disseminated.

However, my learning objective was to gain greater fluency. My research took me on a deep dive into the gold open-access model of scientific publishing and explored the barriers that have hindered its complete transition. To do so, I investigated the dialog of open access within the library and information science literature using a newly learned text-mining content analysis technique. My results verified the growth of the discussion of open access over the past ten years and built upon previous research by Bo-Christer Björk who asserted that the majority of the barriers to gold open access are lower today than ten years ago.

The publication of my article is an academic achievement and a statement of acceptance (by proxy of the journal referees) from the scholarly community. Future impact will come in the form of citation statistics and even social metrics (altmetrics). For now, I am most honored that Dr. Björk read my paper, conveyed that he was flattered that I chose his work for the basis of my study, and noted that its systematic scientific approach nicely complements his effort.