One of the clearest, concise, and entertaining explanations of open access I have seen. Check-out this animated comic, Open Access Explained! narrated by open access advocates Nick Shockey, Director of Student Advocacy at SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) and Jonathan Eisen, Professor of Evolutionary Biology and Ecology at University of California, Davis on the PHD Comics website.
The piece focuses on open access to publically-funded scientific research. I wished for more of a nod to Humanities scholarship and the unique challenges of our disciplines relating to open access. But the explanation still translates very well. For example, this excerpt—I believe it is Jonathan Eisen speaking—could just as easily be applied to Humanities scholarship:
I think the main impediment [to open access] is the slow movement of scientific cultural practices. Scientists, despite being great explorers in terms of knowledge, are sort-of very conservative in changing their practices. Lots of the [scientific] community says: “O yeah, I support openness…but I want a Nature paper [that is, I only want to publish my research in a high-profile journal].” That reliance on impact-factor and the name of the journal [prestige] does allow some journals to not respond to the community pressure toward openness…
[We need to experiment with other models.] I view it much more as scientists and scientific publishers are slow to change. Some of them are going to be left in the dirt because openness is clearly the future. The creative ones are going to survive.