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Making Open Access work: The “state-of-the-art” in providing Open Access to scholarly literature

Stephen Pinfield (University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK)

Online Information Review

ISSN: 1468-4527

Article publication date: 14 September 2015




The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of one of the most important and controversial areas of scholarly communication: Open Access publishing and dissemination of research outputs. It identifies and discusses recent trends and future challenges for various stakeholders in delivering Open Access (OA) to the scholarly literature.


The study is based on a number of interrelated strands of evidence which make up the current discourse on OA, comprising the peer-reviewed literature, grey literature and other forms of communication (including blogs and e-mail discussion lists). It uses a large-scale textual analysis of the peer-reviewed literature since 2010 (carried out using the VOSviewer tool) as a basis for discussion of issues raised in the OA discourse.


A number of key themes are identified, including the relationship between “Green” OA (deposit in repositories) and “Gold” OA (OA journal publication), the developing evidence base associated with OA, researcher attitudes and behaviours, policy directions, management of repositories, development of journals, institutional responses and issues around impact and scholarly communication futures. It suggests that current challenges now focus on how OA can be made to work in practice, having moved on from the discussion of whether it should happen at all.


The paper provides a structured evidence-based review of major issues in the OA field, and suggests key areas for future research and policy development.



Thanks to Rob Johnson for comments on a draft of this paper. The opinions expressed remain those of the author.


Pinfield, S. (2015), "Making Open Access work: The “state-of-the-art” in providing Open Access to scholarly literature", Online Information Review, Vol. 39 No. 5, pp. 604-636.



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