Take Action

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

— Attributed to Margaret Mead

Few question the societal benefit of providing wider access to research that could help citizens make informed decisions about their health care or enable a small business to innovate and help fuel the economy, but an equally compelling case can be made for providing access to political or policy research that improves the effectiveness of an NGO working in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or literary criticism on the works of Alice Munro or Edwidge Danticat that inspires students at an under-resourced high school.

Restricting access to research benefits no one and runs counter to the stated mission of educational and not-for-profit institutions. While the Open Access Network challenges the traditional focus, work processes, and financial operations of our institutions, it also enables them to more fully achieve their stated mission.

How can you help?

  • Join

    To facilitate the establishment of the Open Access Network, we created a membership program that any individual, institution, library, scholarly society, foundation, organization, or company could join. We are no longer actively recruiting members.

    Members demonstrated their support for an OA model that is scalable, sustainable, and fair. Membership funds went to support the organizational and administrative infrastructure for the Open Access Network and the pilot projects we hoped to develop to test the model.

  • Donate

    Individual donations may still be made to the Open Access Network by going to the K|N Consultants site. The Open Access Network is a legally registered assumed name of K|N Consultants.

    All donors will receive a letter confirming receipt of your contribution that includes our federal non-profit tax ID number.

  • Talk

    Reach out to your colleagues and campus administrators. Help them better understand the issues. And if they have questions, concerns, or need more information, you can share our white paper or have them contact us.

  • Volunteer

    There is no shortage of work to be done, from education to outreach to fundraising. Contact us if you would like to get involved.

  • Get Social

    Raise these issues on social media and follow our progress on Twitter.

  • Have Impact

    Read your author agreements. Retain your rights. Publish in a reputable open-access journal or with an open-access-friendly publisher. Ensure your work is communicable — and regularly communicated to others. Participate regularly in the scholarly conversation, both face to face and via social media.


Give me the elevator pitch.

The rapid changes in technology that affect the way research, scholarship, teaching, and learning are done, combined with the ever-increasing financial pressures on institutions of higher education and on their students, require collective and global support of the entire scholarly communication infrastructure and for all its participants, moving from the current cost-per-unit pricing model that works for only particular forms and formats of research output and for only particular stages in the communication workflow. It’s only by working together, with participation from all who contribute and from those who benefit, that we can hope to transform the system at scale.

How do we effect long-term change?

We know change is hard. While the Open Access Network represents a bold rethinking of the economics of OA, the plan for implementation is incremental, taking into consideration the time it will take for stakeholders to transition to their new roles and adjust to the new environment. The long-term change we desire is directly aligned to our stakeholders’ mission and values, that of serving the public good by maximizing access to the knowledge produced at colleges and universities to enhance the lifelong pursuit of education, learning, and research.

How much money is needed? What is the tipping point?

We believe that the route to successful adoption of the approach we are advocating is to demonstrate its attractiveness and sustainability through a stepwise implementation process.

To obtain initial seed funding, we established a membership program open to anyone and everyone who wishes td join the Open Access Network and contribute to the initial pilot projects that will demonstrate in practice how the Open Access Network works.

To fund the post-pilot implementation phase, we proposed in our white paper targeting 1,038 institutions concentrated in the United States and Canada, but with representation throughout the globe, resulting in $56,993,479 in annual revenue. If we go by the law of diffusion of innovation, when we are able to convince 167 (or roughly 16% of those 1,038 institutions) to agree to pay the annual fee, we will have reached a tipping point of institutions who believe in the plan. Critical mass, which indicates widespread adoption and ensures that innovation is now self-sustaining, would require 519 to adopt the model in an ongoing manner. Because of the evolving nature of scholarly publishing, the amount of money raised, while important, is not as critical as getting adopters on board in supporting changing the way the system is funded.

How long will it take to get to this new world order?

It might seem an inappropriate comparison, but let’s look at the evolution of two well-known corporations — Google and Apple. At the turn of the 21st century, Apple was hanging on by a financial thread and Google had just opened their New York office, which consisted of one employee working at a Starbucks on the corner of W. 86th St. and Columbus. Fifteen years later, Apple is the world’s largest company and Google’s New York office holds more that 4,000 employees and a full-sized dessert truck. Seriously. Need we say more?

While the Open Access Network is mission-driven rather than profit-driven, we do have something in common with these highly successful companies. We have a vision that is ambitious; some might even say audacious. We believe that it is possible to build on the excellent work of OA advocates over the last several decades to develop a scholarly communication infrastructure that is open, widely supported, and ever evolving. We realize it won’t happen overnight. But perhaps in as little as 15 years, you will find it hard to remember a time when you couldn’t access the latest research on a topic produced by a scholar or researcher at a college or university.

What about those “free-riders” who just reap the benefits of open access without contributing?

Our model provides a clear but ever-evolving and expanding roadmap to address concerns about “free riders,” including a campaign in a stepwise but nevertheless assertive way to persuade all tertiary academic institutions to participate financially, raise endowment funds from foundations, accept donations from the public, and otherwise engage all beneficiaries — very much in keeping with the core mission of academic institutions, societies, and libraries: the advancement of knowledge and learning and communication of the products of those efforts to the entire world. You can see the principle at work now in the broad membership of the OAN, which includes individuals, libraries, societies, and publishers. This type of broad-based support can scale infinitely.

What are you doing now to raise money?

As it became clear that other initiatives had more potential traction with colleges and universities — although none (unfortunately) have found success either — we retired our fundraising efforts in direct support of the Open Access Network. Donations in support of the ongoing efforts of K|N Consultants to work on behalf of open access can be made on that site.

As we worked to establish the Open Access Network, we set up a membership program that any institution, library, university press or publisher, scholarly society, foundation, organization, or individual could join. Tiered ranges allowed for maximum flexibility within the levels of membership: Supporter ($10 – $999), Benefactor ($1,000 – $4,999), Collaborator ($5,000 – $9,999), Partner ($10,000 – $19,999), and Leader ($20,000 and above).

Members at whatever level demonstrated their support for a model for open access that is equitable, scalable, and sustainable. The monies raised went entirely to support the administrative and organizational infrastructure for the Open Access Network and to fund the pilot projects we hoped to use to test its model.

In our initial phase we wanted the Network to be seen for what it is: broad and inclusive, with members that include high schools, community colleges, liberal arts colleges, and universities. We also welcome libraries, societies and university presses and scholarly publishers of all sizes — and budgets. We pursued foundation funding and asked for-profit organizations to contribute as sponsors. And of course we welcomed grassroots support from individuals. Because the Open Access Network is a legal entity of K|N, a registered 501(c)(3) organization, any donations may qualify for an income tax deduction in accordance with Federal and/or State income tax laws. Please consult with your tax adviser to determine whether your donation is tax deductible, in whole or in part.

How can I get involved?

  • Become an open-access advocate, personally and professionally: Read your author agreements and retain your rights. Publish in a reputable open-access journal or with an open-access-friendly publisher. And participate regularly in the scholarly conversation, both face to face and via social media.
  • Reach out to your colleagues and campus administrators. Help them better understand the issues. Coordinate messaging with us and with other local, national, and international OA advocates. Organize and participate in events.
  • We welcome your help! Contact us at any time via Twitter or email.