Grad students! Perk up. Here's a great idea for your thesis: do a bibliometric trick to analyze how often articles from open access journals are cited by other authors in 'traditional' journals, for a start. I'm curious, but don't have the time myself. DoOAJ is where to begin looking.
How does this play into the set of notions that span Creative Commons, peer-to-peer file sharing, open-source software, and wikis? Is there a cultural or generational divide at play in this stuff? Where's Brazil? Where are libaries? Where are the scholars (and artists and artists and artists)? Where are penguins?
How have traditional journal responded to open access? Who's squirming, who's smiling, who's frowning. What sort of structural and organizational changes are happening now? Etc.
Get to work.
Reading: Northrop Frye, or trying to.