January 25, 2022

Journal Article: “Cultural, Ideological and Practical Barriers to Open Access Adoption Within the UK Academy: an Ethnographically Framed Examination”

The following research article was recently published by Insights.


Cultural, Ideological and Practical Barriers to Open Access Adoption Within the UK Academy: an Ethnographically Framed Examination


Gareth J. Johnson
University of Warwick


Insights 31, 32.
Published: July 11, 2018
DOI: 10.1629/uksg.400


This article presents the results of part of an ethnographic study which examined the perceptions, development and conceptions of open access (OA) practice across the UK higher education environment. It details a qualitative semi-structured interview data capture approach with many institutionally based OA practitioners, which provided a narrative picture of academic and institutional responses to emerging OA dissemination paradigms.

Through an analytical process incorporating qualitative content analysis and ideological critique, it focuses on practitioner perceptions of the types and configuration of barriers between scholars and a greater cultural adoption of OA practices. While the greatest problems perceived relate to academic intellectual disengagement or indifference to publishing praxis change, no singular cause of resistance was identified.

The study reveals practitioners’ perceptions of a multiplicity of operational, technological and ideological barriers blocking progress, and consequently a picture of academic engagement remaining disappointingly patchy. Moreover, moves to increase scholarly compliance through allying it to modalities of fiscal income and metrics, while potentially enhancing practical compliance, appear to risk distorting any revolutionary configuration of OA practices.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.