Academic communities

thu dec 1 session 5 9:00 - 10:45

Chair: Kristiina Hormia-Poutanen (National Library/LIBER)

Mikael Laakso (Hanken): Charting the Evolving Landscape between Paywalls and Sustainable Open Access: Practices, Problems, and Solutions


Scholarly journal publishing has been undergoing a drawn-out phase of transition from closed towards open ever since the widespread adoption of the Internet during the 1990s. Major commercial journal publishers have been slow to fully unlock the potential that open web access holds for benefitting research dissemination and scientific progress. The long and ongoing transition has allowed many newly-founded open access journals to grow and prosper, and it has also lead to forming of various mechanisms and practices for indirectly distributing paywalled content. Alternative mechanisms for distribution of published content exist in the middle of many different tensions, with some mechanisms being more legitimate and sustainable than others. These mechanisms have been created out of a demand and necessity and fulfil a valuable purpose during this time of transition between closed and open. Since publishers have been resisting to change the open access phenomenon has gained a lot of its support bottom-up from researchers. Open access journal publishing is currently a chaotic space where strong commercial interests clash together with ideologies and philosophical reasoning – the aim of research is to advance human knowledge in the very broadest sense.

The term ’open’ comes with the connotation of being more than just free for the moment, for some purposes it does not matter but for a systemic change to happen the key difference should not be underestimated. Though studies have pointed out that we have already reached the tipping point of open access in terms of over half of all recently published journal content being open on the web, the same studies have failed to take into account the problematic nature through which substantial proportions of that content are delivered through. I urge for more awareness on building a sustainable future for growth in open access publishing – we are on the right path but we need to make sure that every effort taken towards openness counts both now and in the future.

About the speaker:

Mikael Laakso earned his PhD in economics from Hanken School of Economics, where he studied Open Access in scientific publishing. He is currently an assistant professor in information systems science at Hanken School of Economics and manages the NopSA (Nopea siirtyminen avoimuuteen, “Rapid Transition to Openness”) project. He is especially interested in the changing landscape of scholarly publishing with respect especially to business, copyright, openness, and communication. He is based in Helsinki (Finland).

Benedikt Fecher (Berlin): Publishing and the Limits of Openness


This talk will focus on different open science schools of thought and will examine path dependencies of academic creation of value in the case of open access to scientific literature and research data.

About the speaker:

Mr Fecher is a doctoral candidate at the German Institute for Economic Research and the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society. He has been a DARIAH-DE fellow at the Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte. He specialises in the archiving and reuse of research data in academia and his interests also include new forms of scientific collaboration, developments in science communication, and knowledge exchange and management. He is based in Berlin (Germany).