The ‘OA market’ - what is healthy? Part 2 | OASPA
peter.suber's bookmarks 2023-01-31
by Malavika Legge The debate begins with the word ‘market’ Talking about open access and a market in the same sentence ignites all kinds of passions and opinions. Of course, a market around OA publishing exists as sized and estimated by Delta Think to be worth ~US$1.6 billion in 2021 versus their $975 million estimate for 2020. Delta Think’s most recent projections are that the OA journals market could be worth over US$ 2 billion in 2024 if current trends continue. But when OASPA talks to stakeholders about an ‘OA market’, what exactly do we mean? The purpose of OASPA’s ‘OA market’ work is to examine the money flows needed to sustain OA publishing. Any way you look at it, the economics of funding and enabling OA publishing is something we all need to grapple with. Building on the ‘OA market’ work done in 2021, OASPA wished to learn more about what is felt by those in different parts of the world. Despite considerable effort, there was an overall European weighting to views that were collected in 2021, and so, the purpose of my follow-on work has been to round out and supplement the perspectives that had initially been collected. Last week I shared some of the perspectives from stakeholders based outside of Europe about the ongoing ‘OA market’ effort from OASPA. Considering the differing philosophies around scholarly publishing across world regions that came to light in these conversations (see my previous post), should OASPA be labelling the prevailing economic system an ‘OA market’? Or should we call it an OA system, the OA landscape, an OA exchange? Or something else altogether? Debate around the name ‘OA market’ is not new, and the issue was already debated at some length in the 2021 workshops. I continued to unpack this dilemma around the name ‘OA market’ with some of the 15 people from around the world acknowledged in my last post. These stakeholders were willing to provide me with their input and expertise on OASPA’s 2021 issue brief and reflections on the ‘OA market’. In these conversations, opinion remained divided on the use of the term ‘market’ in describing the OA environment. “I would avoid [the term market]…” said one voice, since it presupposes that OA needs “an equilibrium between supply and demand driven by money, which is not the actual central reason why science is done and communicated.” Variations on this thinking were echoed by others. What was even more interesting to me, however, were the ‘anti-market’ forces (and the other things!) that I was told OASPA was missing in its assessment of the ‘OA market’. A distillation of these thoughts are outlined below.
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