UCSF joins trend offering published research free

abernard102@gmail.com 2012-06-22


UCSF has joined the growing ranks of academic institutions that are offering most, if not all, of their research free to the public, by requiring that all published scientific studies be added by their authors to a university repository accessible to everyone.  The policy change at UCSF, which was announced last month, is part of a global shift toward ‘open access... ‘The reason we have subscriptions is because it used to be expensive to print. But that's a legacy issue,’ said UCSF biologist Richard Schneider, who helped write the campus' open-access policy. ‘It's not at all relevant in what happens today.’  For decades, limited publication has made it prohibitively expensive for individuals - from scientific entrepreneurs to patients studying their treatment options - to read most research papers, which can cost $50 or more to obtain, even online. Faced with shrinking budgets, universities have been forced to slash the amount of money they spend on subscriptions to scientific journals... Now a growing number of scientists are insisting, often with the support of universities or the groups that fund their work, that their research be made publicly, and freely, available. ‘My interests as a scientist are exactly the same as the consumer, which is as many people seeing my paper as possible,’ said Michael Eisen, a UC Berkeley biologist who helped found the Public Library of Science, one of the world's first open-access publishers. All papers published by PLoS are made immediately available to the public for free.  Already more than 140 U.S. universities and other scientific institutions have developed policies, similar to UCSF's, to offer published research for free.  The UCSF policy is expected to be voted on by the UC-wide Academic Senate this fall. UCSF researchers publish about 4,500 scientific papers a year... The UC system pays nearly $40 million in journal subscription fees every year, allowing its scientists unlimited access to most academic papers.  It's upsetting not to have easy access to that information - especially when the research is paid for by government grants, said John Wilbanks, a senior fellow at the Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City.  Wilbanks, along with three colleagues, has submitted a petition to the White House demanding that all taxpayer-funded research be made immediately and freely available online.  ‘I have a sister with severe arthritis. When I wanted to read up on (the arthritis medication) Enbrel, I kept getting hit with pay walls," Wilbanks said. "These studies were funded by the NIH. I get pissed off when I realize my tax dollars are paying for content I can't read.’  Wilbanks' petition would expand on a 2005 policy by the National Institutes of Health that requires all NIH-funded research be available for free within a year of publication.  ‘The weakness of the UCSF policy is that it allows people to opt out and that allows publishers to push back against authors,’ Eisen said.  Eisen and other supporters of open access acknowledge that it's not a simple process to shift the entire academic field away from a subscription model. For starters, not all academic journals have equal standing. Researchers would almost always prefer that their work be published in a highly regarded, for-profit magazine like Nature or Science than an open-access journal, Eisen said.  And when scientists' careers - their ability to get tenure and garner more funding for research - are based in large part on where they've published, that puts a good deal of power in the hands of the publishers.  ‘If you ask faculty whether they would rather have their work openly available to everybody in the world or closed to only those who can pay for it, that's a no-brainer,’ said Christopher Kelty, a UCLA associate professor who is leading efforts to apply the UCSF policy across the UC system. ‘This isn't about bringing down the scholarly publishing industry,’ Kelty said. ‘It's about making it sustainable.’”



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Open Access Tracking Project (OATP) » abernard102@gmail.com


oa.new oa.gold oa.business_models oa.publishers oa.comment oa.mandates oa.green oa.universities oa.advocacy oa.signatures oa.petitions oa.libraries oa.plos oa.ir oa.impact oa.sustainability oa.prestige oa.prices oa.lay oa.budgets oa.u.california oa.access2research oa.repositories oa.hei oa.policies oa.journals oa.economics_of

Date tagged:

06/22/2012, 22:23

Date published:

06/22/2012, 18:23