Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Open access and the evolving academic publishing landscape of the water sector

Stoler, Justin; Staddon, Chad

Open access and the evolving academic publishing landscape of the water sector Thumbnail


Justin Stoler

Profile Image

Chad Staddon
Professor/Associate Head of Department: Research and Scholarship


The launch of many new water journals in recent years is a testament to the growth and importance of water research as a problematique, that is, as both a problem in and of itself and as an important correlate of other global challenges. As entire regions start to run dry or suffer repeated flooding due to climate change, it is more important than ever to understand water availability, quality, use and governance. And as the burgeoning industry of ‘nexus’ studies shows, researchers and policymakers have discovered that, indeed, most elements of society are linked to water. This is a great time to be a water scholar with exciting new opportunities to collaborate with researchers from across the natural and social sciences, engineering, and humanities. Water scholars also have initiated many new journals, book series, etc., that clamour for our insights and academic production. But there are tensions too, linked to the perhaps too-rapid proliferation of journals, their transition to open access (OA) business models, and the unhealthy ways in which these are linked to career prospects for water scholars.

In this viewpoint, we explore some of the challenges associated with the recent launch of several new water journals and the concomitant shift to OA publication models. The OA movement offers tremendous upsides in terms of expanding readership, access to scientific knowledge, transboundary collaboration and funding to improve regional equity. But there are downsides too, such as ever-increasing demand for free peer-review services, the continued ‘metrification’ of scholarship, dilution of journals managed by professional associations and the monetization by private publishing companies of publicly funded scholarship. There are also other unintended consequences that may reshape the publishing landscape in yet-unknown ways. While these issues affect most scientific disciplines, they are particularly salient for the water sector due to greatly accelerated change in the water-related academic journal landscape over the past five years.

Journal Article Type Note
Acceptance Date Oct 20, 2022
Online Publication Date Nov 16, 2022
Publication Date Mar 1, 2023
Deposit Date Dec 1, 2022
Publicly Available Date May 17, 2024
Journal Water International
Print ISSN 0250-8060
Electronic ISSN 1941-1707
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 48
Issue 1
Pages 5-17
Keywords Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law, Water Science and Technology
Public URL
Publisher URL


Open access and the evolving academic publishing landscape of the water sector (358 Kb)


Publisher Licence URL

Copyright Statement
This is the author’s accepted manuscript of an original article published by Taylor & Francis in ‘Water International’ 48(1), 5-17. on 16th of November 2022. The published version is available at:

You might also like

Downloadable Citations