On “Beyond Open: Expanding Access to Scholarly Content,” by Alice Meadows

On “Beyond Open: Expanding Access to Scholarly Content,” by Alice Meadows

Alice Meadows provides a review of major low cost or public access initiatives  in “Beyond Open: Expanding Access to Scholarly Content.” She summarizes the New School for Social Research’s Journal Donation Project , Research for Life, the International Network for Access to Scientific Publications (INASP), Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL), patientACCESS, Access to Research, Emergency Access Initiative (EAI), and Strengthening Research and Knowledge Systems (SRKS). Meadows’ review is useful insofar as it provides a broad sense of low cost / public access groups. I was especially taken by Access to Research, an organization that facilitates access to scholarly research for UK public library users. As Meadows writes, “Over 90% of the UK’s 206 local authorities, representing more than 3,000 public libraries, have now signed up for the pilot. In the year since it launched, there have been over 50,000 users, who have viewed more than 85,000 pages” (3). To me, this is clearly indicative of public desire for access to scholarly resources.

Meadows contextualizes her review in a larger conversation about the benefits of open access to scholarly research. Unlike much writing on OA, Meadows also outlines the benefits to corporate publishers. “From the publisher’s perspective,” she writes, “the benefits of expanding free or low-cost access to these sorts of organizations [i.e., small and medium-sized enterprises] would include the opportunity to reach and build engagement with new audiences, as well as increase usage of their content, including the ability to monitor this—usage data provided by aggregators is typically minimal” (4). Overall, Meadows makes the case for public and low cost access initiatives, and provides exemplars to back her position.

Work cited

Meadows, Alice. 2015. “Beyond Open: Expanding Access to Scholarly Content.” Journal of Electronic Publishing 18 (3): 5pp.



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