Academics revolt over open access | The Bookseller
"Eleven leading academic associations have written an open letter condemning the government's plans for open access publishing as a 'rushed policy' which poses a real threat to the 'international standing of British Universities and research'. The letter, signed by groups such as The Royal Historical Society, the Political Studies Association and the Council for the Defence of British Universities, and reproduced below in full, called open access a 'fundamental revolution' in academic life and expressed fears about the publication of papers now falling to university administrators. The letter said: 'As the leaders of a diverse group of learned societies, charitable organisations that exist to promote our respective academic disciplines, we support the idea of more open access to academic research. There are, however, a number of problems with the rushed policy.' The bodies blamed lack of consultation on the policy and said the 'author processing charge' institutions will now pay to publish their academics' work increased financial burden on British universities. The letter also argued that the policy had been formed in response to the science, technology and engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines, and more consultation and 'far fuller scrutiny' was needed by the government for the social sciences, arts and humanities (HSS) sector. 'We are glad that both the BIS Select Committee in the Commons and the Science and Technology Committee in the Lords are now holding inquiries into the Government’s open access policy,' the letter said. 'However, with no requirement for legislation, the Department is not bound in any way to take note of the reports of either inquiry. Hence we write to alert readers to this situation. There are alternative routes to open access, but these too require close attention to their potential impact on the full range of disciplines. We urge the government to work with us to develop a policy that will open access without sacrificing academic freedom or academic quality.' Professor Howard Hotson, a fellow of St Anne's College, Oxford, who sits on the steering council for the Council for the Defence of British Universities, told the Guardian that he was 'flabbergasted' by the appetite of the coalition government to 'pursue multiple radical changes simultaneously...'"