Open Access and PMB - Abstract - Physics in Medicine and Biology - IOPscience
Use the link to access the full text editorial published in the journal Physics in Medicine and Biology available from IOP Publishing "on behalf of the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine." An excerpt reads as follows: "In recent months there has been an intensifying debate surrounding the scientific publishing industry, focusing on the important questions of who pays and who benefits, and who has access. In the UK, the debate has been particularly energetic, with many articles and letters in the press, discussion within funding agencies, culminating recently in the recommendations to the Government contained within the Finch report . Other events that are helping to shape the discussion include the decision by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Max-Planck Society and the Wellcome Foundation to collaboratively start their own open access journal  (the first example of major funding agencies owning their own scientific journal), and the worldwide boycott of Elsevier journals by more than 12,000 authors and reviewers . The lay media typically advances a rather simple argument in support of reform and open access. The argument put forward is that much of the scientific research around the world is funded by the taxpayer, a significant part of this research is published in journals owned by large commercial publishing corporations and that these corporations charge libraries relatively high fees for subscriptions and have been accused of engaging in practices that can 'force' libraries to buy bundles of journals, many of which they may not want. These publishing corporations make profits which go to their shareholders but get their product (the scientific manuscripts and the peer review of those manuscripts) largely for free. Furthermore, the published work is only available through the libraries that can afford the subscriptions, thus limiting access. While this captures some of the issues, the full picture is considerably more complicated. There are many different types of publisher in the market (not all commercial) and it is a competitive environment where different business models have been introduced in response to varying librarian and researcher requirements; for example, the bundling of journals was originally driven by librarians and publishers as a way to increase access to content for researchers at more competitive prices. That requirement may have evolved since it was introduced but there are still many different options offered by publishers for their customers. In fact, figures from the recent Publishing Research Consortium (PRC) study, Access vs Importance , October 2010, show that 93% of (global) academic researchers say access to journals is very easy or fairly easy. However one of the challenges for scientific publishing is the wider reader base outside of traditional researchers wishing to access content. It has become more important in some research areas that the general public have access to peer-reviewed scientific findings and in some of these cases people are facing barriers..."