Transitioning Journals to Open

I spent last week at the Conference of Open Access Scholarly Publishers in Tallinn, Estonia, and giving a presentation at the pre-conference Knowledge Exchange workshop. The workshop and conference brought together people from around the world to discuss the sustainability of scholarly journals that publish their content without any subscription fees (aka “open access“). And, of course, open access content is a key component of open educational resources and openness in general.

The workshop was of particular interest to me, as it concerned helping journals transition from the subscription model to the open access model. I work with these kinds of journals regularly, and this workshop was a great opportunity to share experiences. Participants came from a variety of perspectives, including libraries, journals, publishers, and software developers. We explored a number of ways to assist these transitioning journals and provided some possible next steps, such as creating a transition toolkit and developing a set of measurements from a selected group of transitional journals to demonstrate the significantly increased readership that openness can bring. I’m looking forward to participating in this ongoing work with the Knowledge Exchange group.

As we are all currently students at the U of R, we have access to a wide variety of electronic journal subscriptions. Once we graduate, however, those are all ended. Is anyone concerned that we are being trained to be “master-level” researchers, but once we graduate, we will no longer have access to the main tools of doing expert research (i.e., most scholarly journal articles)? Because I work for SFU, I will continue to have access, but I couldn’t imagine being an effect practitioner once those resources dry up. Are any of you concerned about this issue? Have you run into problems in the past of trying to gather reliable evidence to solve a problem at work, and been unable to access the necessary research (without paying a bundle)?