Friday, 18 May 2012

Open Access 'Snowball' Continues to Roll

Two interesting news items dropped into my inbox today.

1: The Times Higher reported that the European Commission will back open access publishing in Horizon 2020. Details of the proposal will be published at an event in Brussels on 20 June. The Director General for Research and Innovation, Robert-Jan Smits, was quoted as saying that it could make 'one hell of a difference.'

2: The Guardian reported that Winston Hide, associate editor of the Elsevier journal Genomics, has resigned from the editorial board. 'No longer can I work for a system that provides solid profits for the publisher while effectively denying colleagues in developing countries access to research findings,' he said.

It's an interesting coincidence, and suggests that (to quote Prof Tim Gowers in the THE article) 'the snowball is getting bigger'. However, some (ok, I mean the publishers of paid-for journals) question the desirability of open access. Income from subscriptions, they argue, allows them to spend more on selecting papers, editing and production.

I think this is a fair point, and worth bearing in mind. If funding does not come through subscriptions, they will need to be reimbursed for these costs from other sources. These could well be the funders of the original research, which would, in turn, mean that there is less money available to fund other research.

I'll continue to watch this snowball's progress with interest.

1 comment:

  1. The snowball is indeed rolling.

    Bart Knols, editor of MalariaWorld and chairman of the board of their foundation, tendered his resignation to another Elsavier journal after reading the Guardian article.