Open Access and COVID-19

Graphic from International Open Access Week

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented an unprecedented motivation for researchers and academics to share knowledge widely, not just among scientists but across all academic fields. An increasing number of organisations are moving towards an Open Access model for disseminating information in response to COVID-19, but more challenges and opportunities lie ahead.

The Rise of Pre-prints and Open Access Publishing

Open Access publishing platforms such as SSRN are able to post and share research faster than traditional publishing models. Researchers are also discovering the effectiveness of sharing pre-print and post-print papers ahead of peer review and/or publication. Please see our blog post “5 Things You Need to Know About Open Access” for more information on pre-prints and post-prints.

Beyond Paywalls

Some traditional publishing platforms have moved COVID-19 research out from behind paywalls. However, many other challenges require collaborative solutions across all disciplines and according to Wellcome Open Research, “ensuring that everyone can access research for free gives us the best chance of addressing them. We need to build on the great progress that has been made in response to COVID-19 and move towards a fully open access world.”

Graphic from UNESCO

From Temporary Access to Open Access

In response to the closing of post-secondary campuses worldwide and the move to online classrooms, platforms such as Project Muse and JSTOR made journals and books freely available. However, open access to these resources have proved to be temporary as some platforms began restricting access once more as of June 30, 2020. Open Access advocates have called on platforms to continue providing open access to resources and according to the organisation Coalition-S, “We don’t know which research papers that today remain largely inaccessible could inspire solutions and bright ideas for tomorrow’s challenges.”

Further Reading

Open Access lessons during Covid-19: No lockdown for research results! (2020, June 08). Retrieved October 19, 2020, from

Kiley, R. (2020, May 21). Open access: How COVID-19 will change the way research findings are shared. Retrieved October 19, 2020, from