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The challenge of Open Access

Denise Pumain
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1The principle of the open access to data and to scientific results, mentioned in a European directive, is quite simple: publicly funded scientific knowledge, voluntarily assessed and corroborated by peers who are themselves paid by public funds, should be made available to the public for free.

2Embedded in our complex institutional systems, this simple principle pushes our journal to face numerous challenges.

3The challenge of quality: the value of science, at one certain point of its dissemination, is founded on the exchange of ideas and experiences and on analyses influenced by both logic and by the assessment of innovation or of an added value compared to prior knowledge or to concepts elaborated in other fields of study. Cybergeo stands out in this regard thanks to its editorial board and reading committee whose members are devoted and often renewed, and to a high number of casual readers.

4The challenge of viability: in order to effectively compete with major publishing groups and voracious periodicals that charge authors, we have chosen the open access model Freemium which maintains free access for both readers and authors whilst ensuring that correct referencing is done by the libraries that subscribe for a modest sum.

5The challenge of innovation: in these times of big data and of the proliferation of digitized messages and forms of publication, the risks of fragmentation and obliteration of knowledge are becoming very high. It is up to a scientific journal to suggest adapted means for structuring and accumulating knowledge in one specific domain. We continually update the sections of our journal and have created GeOpenMod which should allow us to take advantage of open access by publishing models or sharing software used by geographers, including all their computer codes and their results: the repeatability of experiences also guarantees the quality of this type of publication. We also provide a list of services free of access which contributes to improving the preservation and the exchange of information.

6The challenge of utility: we have enumerated 750 000 article downloads in 2013 and we will probably reach one million downloads in 2014. These figures illustrate the service rendered by our journal. Thank you to all, authors, readers and evaluators for whom the challenge of open access remains the best guarantee for quality and for sharing our experiences!

7Read more about the scandal in France:​2014/​11/​11/​france-prefers-to-pay-twice-for-papers-by-its-researchers/​ 

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Denise Pumain, « The challenge of Open Access », Cybergeo : European Journal of Geography [En ligne], Éditoriaux, mis en ligne le 21 octobre 2014, consulté le 22 juin 2018. URL :

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