Can Geowalling Save Open Access? – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Remember when Elsevier floated the idea of regional open access in 2017 and was soundly pilloried for it? 

I do. So imagine my surprise to hear that Jean-Claude Burgelman, the Open Access Envoy of the European Commission who serves on the cOAlition S Executive Steering Group, has suggested geo-specific access as an approach to achieving open access!…

When pushed to reconcile his proposal with the principles of open access, Burgelman replied that regional access “is better than no OA and that it could be imagined at a regional level.”  …

The proposed solution is geowalling, which takes inspiration from the fact that “Amazon knows if someone is in the US or the UK and shows them different prices.” But, instead of different prices, geowalling would allow a user access or not based on geo-location. Burgelman seems to suggest that this geowalled access could also be used as a policy lever, to get other nations to follow the European lead. 

Johan Rooryck, the cOAlition’s Open Access Champion, stated to me via e-mail that “Jean-Claude Burgelman has made is clear that he made his remarks about Geowalling strictly in a personal capacity. This proposal does not reflect the position of cOAlition S, whose purpose is full and immediate Open Access as reflected in the June 2019 principles and implementation guidance.” …

I tend to agree with Burgelman that full regional access is better than no open access. More reading access for more readers at the same or lower price is a good thing. But, it is not open access. 

And, to quote Johan Rooryck, the cOAlition’s Open Access Champion, it is also: “Not in line with Plan S. Period.” …”