This paper aims at analysing the impact of open access (OA) on the creation, retrieval and transfer of scientific knowledge. In doing so, the focus is set on scientific research as one core function of higher education institutions. It also aims to identify potential advantages of OA over traditional subscription‐based publishing models from the viewpoint of academic scientists.
The approach of this study can be classified as analytical conceptual research. First the SECI model of organisational knowledge creation is applied to knowledge management in science (with the university as organisation). In a second step the resulting framework is used to describe influences of OA on the management of scientific knowledge.
OA accelerates the creation and widens the dissemination of scientific knowledge. Subject‐based repositories are suggested to provide the best conditions for retrieval of scientific knowledge. Furthermore, in terms of economic efficiency, OA has the potential to significantly decrease the costs of scholarly communication.
In this paper the focus of investigation is academic research. Thus in order to get the “big picture” the influence of openly accessible information on knowledge management processes in teaching and administration should also be evaluated. The approach used in this paper seems to be suitable for such an analysis.
The findings of the paper are of interest for policy makers in higher education institutions – especially when facing decisions regarding the (financial) support of OA initiatives.
The paper adds a theoretically sound approach of analysing OA impacts to the existing literature in this field.
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