What are the implications of APCs for scholars without paying institutions?

BurchardtIn a new article published today on SAGE Open, Dr. ­Jørgen Burchardt discusses the viability of open access publications, particularly for scholars without institution funding. Dr. Burchadt has extensive experience in the relatively short history of open access. He helped begin the oldest open access journal in Denmark in 2000, and he has been active in publishing since the 1970s.

SAGE was able to sit discuss the open access frontier with pioneer Dr. Burchardt.

In your paper, you mention that open access publishing has both benefits and drawbacks; what was the most surprising finding?

It surprised me that the number of researchers without a research institution behind them was that large. I knew the size of the group from the journals where I had been active, but it was even higher in many other journals. Most interesting was that, even in traditionally rich research areas [in the STM world], there existed researchers with no research institution behind them to pay for their publishing.

Has your opinion about open access changed since conducting the research?

No, my general opinion of OA has not changed through the research process. It is still a “nice to have” but not a “need to have” situation [for me]. Quality publishing is still the most important factor – free or not.

Why did you choose to submit this particular study to SAGE Open?

I chose SAGE Open because of its broad scope […] where I was sure the theme was included.

I was surprised by the quality that SAGE Open delivered – fast expedition and the most qualified peer reviewers I could get, and at last, a professional copy editor. And the journal’s price is very competitive at $195.

In your opinion, what should be the next step for researchers interested exploring the development of open access?

I hope that more researchers will monitor the potential problems that can occur if some research is no longer published. Even if only a modest number of researchers are unable to publish in quality journals, the world economy can be affected.

I hope that politicians and officials will recognize and understand their responsibility, and support this research. It is okay that they push OA hard, if in their opinion it’s a necessity for the society, but at the same time, they must be responsible for addressing any negative impacts and consequences that ensue.


Dr. Jørgen Burchardt is the Chairman of the Danish Association of Science Editors and a researcher for the National Museum of Science and Technology. Formerly, he was the Director of the technical museum, Dansk Vejmuseum. He began working as an editor for scientific journals in 1978 and helped launch the oldest running open-access journal in Denmark, Tidsskrift for Arbejdsliv. He continues to serve as a consultant for journals and researchers. He has contributed to over 50 Danish books, some of them concerning digital publishing and academic communication. 

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