Success of open access presented in over thirty compelling stories

3. November 2011

Open access - the free, immediate, online access to the results of scholarly research – can transform scholarship and its impact. More than 30 compelling stories have been collected from across Europe and further afield to show this transformation in action. The stories are from over 11 countries and are told by a wide variety of stakeholders from individual researchers and journal editors to publishers and companies and cover a multitude of disciplines. Some of the initiatives have a rich history while others are more recent. All demonstrate the benefits of open access, sometimes in quite unexpected ways. This range of stories was commissioned by Knowledge Exchange and collected by Michelle Pauli. 

Experiment now read in 180 countries

One example is First Monday, which is a 15-year-old open access journal about the internet, catering to a diverse audience. It was launched in May 1996 by chief editor Professor Edward Valauskas with the Danish publisher Munksgaard, who were keen to experiment with then nascent forms of e-publishing without risking one of their established titles. It is now one of the longest established, most respected peer reviewed journals of the internet. By August 2011 it had published 1,133 papers in 181 issues, written by 1,469 different authors representing institutions in over 30 different countries. It is read in 180 different countries.  

Repository building relationships with publishers

Pedocs is a German educational science archive that uses an innovative cooperation model with German publishing houses to make available freely and openly a wealth of high quality pedagogic literature. Set up in 2008, in just the last three years it has developed cooperative relationships with more than 25 small and medium-sized German educational literature publishing houses. 

Putting high quality historical research into a collaborative environment

Institutions for Collective Action is a website full of high quality open access research, datasets, teaching materials and other resources about historical institutional forms of collective action. The site is designed to be a two-way process, both a resource for researchers to use the material offered – for free – on the site and an opportunity for them contribute their own material (such as datasets, publications and source material) via the site, becoming part of the academic discourse on the subject. 

A trailblazing bioscience platform sharing bioscience research, globally

Bioline International is a platform for quality peer reviewed journals published in developing countries, from Bangladesh to Venezuela. Launched in 1993 it was one of the pioneers of open access and acts as a conduit for research to and from the developing world. Bioline’s success in sharing knowledge between north and south, east and west is clear from site traffic statistics showing the spread of visitors. During a one month period between July and August 2011, 1,032,844 visits came from 224 countries or territories. 

Open for re-use

The stories can be found on a dedicated, easy-to-use website and are open for comments and ready to share. They are not only free for all to read and refer to, but they are also licensed under a creative commons licence. To allow for easier re-use the stories will be available for download and use in other publications and websites.
The website showing the Open Access success stories can be found at:
The stories will be available for download from the Knowledge Exchange website at:

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