Impact of Open Access on the UK Job Market

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If you’re a recent graduate or graduating soon, a role in academic publishing may seem like a risky move. There is a level of uncertainty surrounding the industry due to Open Access. If the articles become free, then surely there will be a cut in jobs? It’s very difficult to find an exact answer for this, but for the moment job prospects in academic publishing do not show signs of slowing down. 

Although many university presses have operated their own kind of Green Open Access for a while – commonly known as self-archiving – Gold Open Access is still a new process for many to take on. This is ideal for graduates and students have are relatively up-to-date with the latest technologies and advances. A great example of this is our interview with Luke – who inspects and corrects eBooks metadata. If looking to archive data, free or not, then university presses will need to hire people who can do this quickly and efficiently.

Another worry with Open Access is that it will move big scientific businesses abroad, such as GlaxoSmithKline, where there it can protect research from open access. This seems highly unlikely to me. While corporation tax in the UK is one of the lowest in the Western world, it is financially unviable for businesses to move elsewhere. The cost of relocating, asking approval from shareholders and a whole host of other issues can be fixed by simply opting for Green Open Access – which embargoes research anywhere between 6-24 months.

If you’re interested in working in academic publishing, I think it is still worth applying for roles as they appear. Studies have shown that most graduates leave their first job after 18 months, and it is going to take much longer than that for all university presses to fully adapt to Open Access.

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