Discipline-specific open access publishing practices and barriers to change: an evidence-based review

Severin, Anna; Egger, Matthias; Eve, Martin Paul; Hürlimann, Daniel (2020). Discipline-specific open access publishing practices and barriers to change: an evidence-based review F1000Research, 7, pp. 1-42. 10.12688/f1000research.17328.2

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Background: Many of the discussions surrounding Open Access (OA) revolve around how it affects publishing practices across different academic disciplines. It was a long-held view that it would be only a matter of time before all disciplines fully and relatively homogeneously implemented OA. Recent large-scale bibliometric studies show, however, that the uptake of OA differs substantially across disciplines. We aimed to answer two questions: First, how do different disciplines adopt and shape OA publishing practices? Second, what discipline-specific barriers to and potentials for OA can be identified? Methods: In a first step, we identified and synthesized relevant bibliometric studies that assessed OA prevalence and publishing patterns across disciplines. In a second step, and adopting a social shaping of technology perspective, we studied evidence on the socio- technical forces that shape OA publishing practices. We examined a variety of data sources, including, but not limited to, publisher policies and guidelines, OA mandates and policies and author surveys. Results: Over the last three decades, scholarly publishing has experienced a shift from “closed” access to OA as the proportion of scholarly literature that is openly accessible has increased continuously. Estimated OA levels for publication years after 2010 varied between 29.4% and 66%. The shift towards OA is uneven across disciplines in two respects: first, the growth of OA has been uneven across disciplines, which manifests itself in varying OA prevalence levels. Second, disciplines use different OA publishing channels to make research outputs OA. Conclusions: We conclude that historically rooted publishing practices differ in terms of their compatibility with OA, which is the reason why OA can be assumed to be a natural continuation of publishing cultures

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


Business School


Severin, Anna;
Egger, Matthias;
Eve, Martin Paul and
Hürlimann, Daniel0000-0002-5483-2449






Daniel Hürlimann

Date Deposited:

04 May 2022 13:58

Last Modified:

04 May 2022 13:58

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Open Access Open Science Publishing Scholarly Communication Science Policy, Communication Technologies Scientometrics Meta-Synthesis





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