UK Government Panel Recommends Open Access for All Publicly Funded Research Publications; Gets Mixed Support. (June 20, 2012) 2012-06-27


“In 2011 the UK Government set up the Working Group on Expanding Access to Published Research Findings, chaired by Janet Finch, a sociologist and former vice-chancellor of Keele University. The Finch report makes 10 recommendations and 10 "Key Actions: overall policy and funding arrangements". Above all it recommends a staid and considered transition to open access publication moving to gold open access, i.e. the author(s) or their institutions or granting bodies pay all publication costs in contrast to green open access whereby the publisher takes responsibility for defraying costs, is entitled to profit but then allows depositing the publication in a freely available site. Mark Walport, director of the Wellcome Trust, which is to undertake publication of eLife which will be free to view on the web immediately upon publication said: ‘We are delighted that the Finch report encourages the U.K. to embrace open access,’ While  Timothy Gowers, a Fields Medallist at the University of Cambridge and an ardent open-access advocate who instigated the move boycotting Elsevier, criticizes the report for being ‘more concerned with the openness issue than with making a serious attempt to reduce costs...’ If high-quality journals charge unreasonably high fees, only scientists with wealthy backers will in the future be able to publish in better journals, he suggests. And if the large institutions that fund research agree to cover the author fee regardless of the cost, ‘there is another problem,’ he says. ‘It means that publishers have complete control over prices, which is not obviously an improvement over the stranglehold that they have at the moment.’ Professor Gowers would seem to have a point: According to NatureNews: ‘The report does not recommend a figure for the cost of a gold article, but notes that the UK Wellcome Trust, a major biomedical research funder, last year paid an average of £1,422 (A$2,200) per paper on behalf of the scientists it supports. Costs could be greater in more selective journals — Nature’s editor-in-chief Philip Campbell says that the journal would have to charge more than £6,500 (A$10,000) for gold open-access articles.’ Another aspect of the drive toward increased open access is noted by the learned societies. For example, The London-based Institute of Physics, told Nature that it earns some £10 million each year — more than 60% of its total income — from publishing, which it spends on activities such as science education and outreach. Its president, Peter Knight says: "The mood of the community is to get costs down — but if scientific publishing only just covered its costs, an awful lot of our programmes would be in jeopardy.’ One thing, however, is now certain, open access will increase and whether it takes 5, 10 or more years, it will come to dominate scientific publishing, and in all probability several forms will co-exist.”



08/16/2012, 06:08

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Tags: oa.npg oa.business_models oa.publishers oa.policies oa.comment oa.government oa.advocacy oa.signatures oa.petitions oa.boycotts oa.elsevier oa.societies oa.prices oa.funders oa.fees oa.wellcome oa.recommendations oa.elife oa.finch_report oa.repositories oa.journals



Date tagged:

06/27/2012, 20:41

Date published:

06/27/2012, 21:04