Open access to research is inevitable, says Nature editor-in-chief 2012-06-11


“Open access to scientific research articles will "happen in the long run", according to the editor-in-chief of Nature, one of the world's premier scientific journals... Campbell, who was speaking on Friday at a briefing by academic publishers on open access at the Science Media Centre, related his recent experience of reading papers on psychology and psychiatric treatments. ‘It's been a delight to find how many of those papers are published open access. I've been able to dip around into papers, get what I want, not necessarily the whole paper, and immediately find what I need. As a reader experience and a researcher experience, that's very compelling.’ He added: ‘In the future, there will be text mining and tools … that need to get into that literature - I see that as a key part of the future and it's hard to see how that could work without open access...’ ‘You hear it said that the public has paid for it, the public should have access to it for free,’ said Campbell. ‘At that point, I draw back and say, what do you mean by 'it'? You mean something that has got quality in it, that has been selected and copy-edited. Somebody has got to do all that stuff, so the 'it' you want usually has involved somebody acting like a publisher to make it useable and comprehensible.’ Nature Publishing Group, he said, employed around 100 editors across its titles whose job is to assess submissions and organise peer review. Additional investment was required to maintain the digital platforms that host papers. All of these costs are currently met by a combination of subscriptions and fees from authors paying for so-called gold open access – an option operated by Nature where authors pay an upfront fee for their paper to be available immediately. If gold open access became the norm for the primary literature, Campbell said that the cost per article could be in excess of $10,000 to publish in highly selective journals such as Nature, Cell or Science. Theodora Bloom, editorial director for biology publishing at the open access publisher Public Library of Science, said... in an online world, the costs don't come every time someone new looks at it, they come at the point where you publish the work. Subscriptions online have the effect of stopping reading science – whether those readers are patients, the general public, other researchers, start-up companies... Alicia Wise, director of universal access at Elsevier, addressed concerns from academics that the cost of journal subscriptions was too high. She said there was a gap between what university libraries would like to have in their collections and what they can afford to subscribe to, but that ‘gap exists not because of our prices or our profit, but because, for decades, there's been a widening gap between library budgets and the global investment in R&D. Global R&D is around $1.2 trillion per year and it grows by more than 4% each year. This fuels growth in the number of researchers and research projects and the number of articles that are written and are of high enough quality to be published. It's unfortunately no surprise that there's an affordability gap in libraries. This is a shared problem for libraries, publishers, academics and funders that we need to work together to address... Without our investments in the publishing industry, things would be quite different, academics would still be walking across campus to read books and journals in their libraries, off shelves,’ she said. ‘The present is that you read electronic information driven by our investment to create electronic journals, to digitise their archive, to structure and tag content and to surface it throughout the internet has made this improvement in efficiency possible.’”



08/16/2012, 06:08

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Open Access Tracking Project (OATP) »

Tags: oa.npg oa.business_models oa.publishers oa.policies oa.mining oa.comment oa.government oa.libraries oa.plos oa.open_science oa.costs oa.prices oa.hybrid oa.fees oa.lay oa.budgets oa.journals



Date tagged:

06/11/2012, 21:22

Date published:

06/11/2012, 21:33