We are celebrating this year’s open access (OA) week by talking to a number of researchers from Germany, the UK, the Netherlands and Sweden who have chosen to publish their work open access. We are discussing the reasons behind their choice, the benefits they have seen for their research and career, and the role that institutions as well as transformative agreements can have in assisting with funding. Here, Dr. Darren Langdridge, Professor of Psychology and Sexuality at the Open University, shares his thoughts.
OA is critically important in helping to build greater equity and inclusion with respect to academic research. OA provides greater opportunity for access to research findings from a more diverse readership, whether that is academics with less access to traditional journal output, practitioners, the third sector, political activists, campaigners etc.
One strand of my research is concerned with better understanding novel sexual cultures and their attendant practices and identities, mostly using a phenomenological methodology, an approach which is focused on capturing people’s own lived experience. The article in question reports the findings from a study of a novel sexual practice/identity known as ‘puppy play’, in which participants mimic dogs (primarily puppies) for the fun and pleasure this provides. The article describes the key psychological elements that underpin the motivation to participate in this activity.
I prefer to publish OA if at all possible. It allows for wider access to research findings, which is particularly important when conducting research on minority topics. Publishing OA helps to ensure the work can be read and used by the communities themselves and also ensures the researcher can be held to account by the ‘subjects’ of their investigation.
We live in an information ‘rich’ world, albeit one in which much of this information is of questionable quality. Greater access to rigorous academic research helps counter misinformation and prejudice, and thereby form the basis for better informed decision-making. A primary career aim for me has been to dispel myths concerning sexual minority communities and OA output can be particularly useful in that regard.
I have published OA material before. The process is generally very simple if the funding is available or there is access to an institutional arrangement with a publisher which allows for access. The biggest, and only real challenge, that I have encountered concerns access to funding to support OA.
Sadly, it is not easy to get funding and OA publishing may be impossible unless the research is funded to specifically include publication costs or is supported by UKRI or a similar funding body within the UK. Fortunately, in this instance, I was able to publish OA in my chosen journal as a result of my institution having a Transformative Read & Publish (Springer Compact) agreement.
OA is particularly important when working on marginalised topics. Sharing good quality research helps to counter prejudice and misinformation. It is also important to share findings based on research with minority communities with the communities themselves, many of whom would not have access to journal output behind a paywall.
I chose the Springer journal Archives of Sexual Behavior as the outlet for this work because it is one of the leading journals in the field, which publishes research on similar topics.
If you have the necessary funding, or subscription deal in place, then I would not hesitate to recommend others publish open access wherever possible. It is vitally important we share good quality academic research with the widest possible audience.
Dr. Darren Langdridge’s article was published OA under the UK Transformative Read and Publish agreement between Springer Nature and Jisc. This agreement means that authors affiliated with participating institutions can publish OA in Springer hybrid journals with their fees covered.
About Dr. Darren Langdridge
Darren Langdridge is Professor of Psychology and Sexuality at the Open University (UK), and a UKCP accredited existential psychotherapist working in private practice. For many years, Darren has researched and written on sexualities, phenomenology, psychotherapy, and health, publishing numerous books, papers and book chapters. Darren founded the journal Psychology & Sexuality, designed to advance the boundaries of work in the psychology of sexualities. He has most recently been researching the use of affect in mass media health interventions whilst also attempting to finish a long overdue book on sexual citizenship.