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 c