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Open Access at Oxford University Press

A year in review: Open Access at OUP

The open access landscape is fast evolving—and for good reason. Following the global outbreak of COVID-19 in which research and knowledge lay at the heart of hope, we have seen a renewed focus in the industry for open access (OA) publishing. Government-driven policies are being enhanced to increase public access to research, such as the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) update to its long-established 2013 memo on public access to federally funded research, and OA content continues to increase its share of the global scholarly publishing market.

In recognition of International Open Access Week, which this year runs between 24 and 30 October, we reflect on the progress that has been made at Oxford University Press and the people who have been influential in driving it. As the world’s largest university publisher of open access research and as a mission-driven organisation, we see “opening up” access to research as a vital part of how we disseminate knowledge. We are proud to be making significant contributions toward enabling greater access to academic research. 

Currently, more than a third (36%) of our journal content is available OA—that’s without barriers to access or re-use—and we are working to see that number increase with new partnerships and through cooperation with the scholarly community by working with authors, society publishing partners, institutions, and funders to move towards an open world.

“Currently, more than a third of our journal content is available OA—that’s without barriers to access or re-use.”

Last year, we celebrated the significant milestone of 100,000 articles published OA. Since then, our teams have been busy launching new OA journals and books, signing Read and Publish agreements, and impacting government policy through the publication of critical research, all whilst ensuring our commitment to high-quality is maintained. Our rigorous editorial and peer review processes and our focus on publishing impactful research has led to mean lifetime citations for gold open access articles published in our journals reaching 29.34*—placing us in the top two of all major academic publishers. 

Unlocking new publishing opportunities 

Over the past year, we have initiated a number of new publishing opportunities to further improve access to our scholarly content. As an example, we have increased our OA journal portfolio to 100 fully open access journals—a nearly 25% increase on last year—and expanded the number of hybrid journals offering authors the choice to publish OA to over 400. Launched in April 2020, our Oxford Open Journals series is underpinned by a set of guiding principles focused on open research, including open data and open peer review. The series now also includes Oxford Open Infrastructure and Health and Oxford Open Digital Health journals, bringing the total number of journals in the series to eight. You can read more from our Oxford Open Editors on this year’s Open Access Week theme of climate justice on the OUPblog

In terms of journal flipping—a change that sees an existing journal move from a subscription-based closed access model, or similar, to OA—we have so far transitioned 16 journals, with the Journal of Plant Ecology and European Journal of Public Health having flipped to fully OA in 2022. 

Likewise, we have seen notable growth in our books publishing, this year publishing 41 fully open access books and two with open access chapters, with our most read OA book so far being Cornerstones of Attachment Research, by Robbie Duschinsky. 

This means more high-quality research, often published in partnership with global learned societies, is reaching a wider range of the academic community than ever before, benefiting our authors, those using our research, and wider society.

Read and Publish

Our Read and Publish agreements help make OA publishing available to more authors worldwide. In addition to our existing Read and Publish deals ranging from the United States to China, this year saw us launch major new agreements in Australia and New Zealand, Italy, the UK, the US, Sweden, Spain, Cyprus, Croatia, and Lithuania, as well as with the Italian consortium of Biomedical Research Libraries (BIBLIOSAN) and Qatar National Library

“From Altmetric’s data, we know that authors publishing OA with OUP get more attention for their work.”

Greater author exposure

From Altmetric’s data, we know that authors publishing OA with OUP get more attention for their work. As of October 2022, 87% of OUP-published gold open access content gets mentioned online in comparison to 47% for closed access. Highlights from the mentions of gold-open access publications include: 

Impacting government policy and climate justice

In line with this year’s open access theme—”open for climate justice”, which seeks to encourage connection and collaboration among the climate movement and the international open community—we are proud to have OUP OA research cited by key government bodies, including the WHO, EU, UN, the International Renewable Energy Agency, and Sweden’s Research Institute. 

You can find some of the most influential climate and sustainability related articles on topics ranging from affordable clean energy to food environments below: 

Our commitment to OA publishing is a key part of how we deliver on our mission to achieve the widest possible dissemination of high-quality research. It is this approach that steers our future direction and influences the way we work with authors, society publishing partners, institutions, and funders to maintain the highest quality research while creating a more open world for everyone.  

As the open access landscape evolves, we will continue to be at the forefront of that change.

*Source: Dimensions, as of September 2022

Featured image by Tolga Aslantürk, via Pexels, public domain

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  1. Sajida Iffat Mukhtar

    As a teacher and Administrator I always recommend people to be a part of Oxford University Press

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