This article aims to explore the geographic distribution of open access practices in the world from a diffusionist perspective.
The article applies a tempo‐spatial analysis to examine the diffusion movement of open access practices from the West to the entire world during the past several decades. Both maps and tables are used to support the analysis. The diffusionist theory is reviewed and applied to the understanding of open access.
The paper discovers that technology is not the only factor determining the diffusion pattern of information systems as discussed in the literature. Cultural dissimilarities across countries have played a significant role in open access development. Open access can only be effectively established after it meets local standards.
The findings help understanding of why open access has a disproportionate growth among developing countries, and even among developed countries, where the ICT infrastructure has been in place.
Few studies have taken a transnational view to analyze open access geography at the global level, and few have been able to synthesize models to interpret diverse discoveries. Furthermore, a chronological evaluation tracing the history of open access spatial expansion is absent in the literature.
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