“In general, language and literature scholars do not prioritize publishing in open access journals and are reluctant to pay article processing charges (APCs) to make their articles in hybrid journals open access. A few subfields, such as video game studies and digital humanities, have many open access journals and may represent exceptions to this trend.
Numerous interviewees expressed positive sentiments around the idea of their research being openly available, although they often conflated “open access”—free access to published, peer-reviewed articles—with other forms of online dissemination, such as digital archives and Academia.edu. However, these interviewees usually did not report having taken concrete actions to make their research open access. The pressure to publish in prestige journals—which are usually not open access—and the cost of article processing charges contravenes any desire to make their work open. As one unusually well-informed interviewee explained, “I would like [my work] to be copyrighted under a Creative Commons [open access copyright license] and I have absolutely no way of doing that because of the tenure system. . . . After I get tenure I’ll start to try to push that forward.” This resonates with findings from the Ithaka S+R US Faculty Survey 2018, which showed that younger faculty members across disciplines place less of a priority on publishing in open access journals than older faculty members.
The continuing supremacy of the monograph within the field of languages and literature may also contribute to scholars’ ambivalence toward open access publishing, since the open access movement broadly focuses on journal articles. Although some publishers are experimenting with open access monographs—at least one interviewee reported having published a book both in print and in a free online version—this was not a priority for the scholars interviewed for this project.
Only a few interviewees reported that they had uploaded preprints of their articles to their campus repositories. Many scholars simply do not understand that they are able to do this or why they should. Others are confused about whether and how the copyright terms of their own work allow them to share it on platforms outside the publisher’s website. Several interviewees reported that they share PDFs of their articles on Academia.edu, Facebook groups, or, less commonly, their personal websites; only some of these scholars mentioned paying attention to the copyright status of their work when doing so….
Most interviewees who spoke about public humanities in relation to digital outputs did not articulate a vision for how they would measure or promote public engagement with these outputs, other than making them available. It is also important to note that language and literature scholars generally do not view open access publishing as a proxy for public engagement; there is an implicit sense that traditional scholarly research outputs are inappropriate for wider audiences….”