"For us, every week is Open Access Week!"

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Rhodri Jackson, Publishing Director at Oxford University Press, shares how open access can help rectify the issues of today and tomorrow

The theme this year is climate justice and sustainability – how does that tie in with your goals as an open access scholarly publisher? 

Open access presents valuable opportunities for accelerating progress towards solving major global challenges, such as climate justice and sustainability. Thinking of our own publishing, one of the key aims of our Oxford Open journal series is to tackle issues such as these, and our journals Oxford Open Climate Change, Oxford Open Energy and Oxford Open Economics (among others), all cover climate justice and sustainability. As a not-for-profit university press, we believe it is crucial that our journals spotlight the challenges facing the world today, and utilise the power of open research to contribute towards resolutions to such issues.  

Beyond specific journals, our approach to open access, like our general approach to publishing, is transparent, inclusive and centred on working towards a sustainable future that supports research publications for the benefit of all. We believe that the move to open access and open research can only work if it is equitable and inclusive. One example is our read-and-publish agreements with institutions and consortia around the world. We are strongly focused on ensuring these agreements are sustainable for our customers, our authors and our societies. We are proud to have negotiated more than thirty read-and-publish agreements worldwide that fulfil these goals.  

Why is open access important, and why does Open Access Week matter?

We live in a time of complex worldwide challenge. Ensuring that up-to-date and trusted academic research is quickly accessible, reusable and available to all means that academic discourse can be truly global and open. The consequent benefits of that openness are that technological and medical advances can happen faster on a larger scale, and to greater effect, in part, helping rectify both the issues of today and tomorrow. 

Oxford University Press is the largest university press publisher of open research, and open access is a key part of how we fulfil our mission to disseminate high-quality research as widely as possible. With more than 120 fully open access journals published by Oxford University Press, for us, every week is Open Access Week! That said, Open Access Week is a great opportunity for publishers, researchers, institutions and funding bodies to align their thinking and consider their strategies on a shared theme, and this year’s topic of climate justice couldn’t be more timely. 

How will you be marking this year’s Open Access Week?

We’re marking this year’s Open Access Week in several ways. We will be celebrating and showcasing the diverse contributions of our researchers across disciplines to progress towards climate justice, this year’s Open Access Week theme. From decolonising approaches to climate governance, to the social cost of carbon, and the intersections of the climate crisis and racial justice, we are proud to publish outstanding research that advances discussion and real-world solutions on these urgent topics

We will also share a comprehensive update on our progress towards ‘open publishing’ more broadly over the last 12 months. This will include insights into initiatives, such as new transformative, or ‘read-and-publish’ deals, launching new open access books, flipping existing journals and new data policies.

Looking to the future, we’ll consider the ways in which the evolution of open access necessitates further conversations not only about how research outputs are disseminated, but how research is described, conducted, validated and funded. A culture of openness rightly leads to questions about the transparency of the models for both conducting and publishing research. As a not-for-profit university press that publishes around 75% of its journals on behalf of scholarly societies and other organisations, we remain committed to a transparent approach to open access. 

What is the future of open-access publishing?

Over the last few years, the publishing world has progressed rapidly towards open access, and we expect the movement to open access to continue to accelerate. The implementation of new industry initiatives, and funder and government-driven policies, show first-hand the appetite surrounding open access publishing. The recent US White House Office of Science and Technology Policy memorandum outlining a major new push towards opening up federally funded research is a landmark example of this, and we can expect more frequent policy announcements in future years. Oxford University Press published more than 20,000 open access articles in a year for the first time in 2021 - around a third of our journals publishing.  We project both that number and that percentage increasing in the future. 

Rhodri Jackson, Publishing Director, Oxford University Press