UK Open Access to Gov Funded Scientific Research Promised
The government is to unveil controversial plans to make publicly funded scientific research immediately available for anyone to read for free by 2014, in the most radical shakeup of academic publishing since the invention of the internet.
Under the scheme, research papers that describe work paid for by the British taxpayer will be free online for universities, companies and individuals to use for any purpose, wherever they are in the world.
Excellent news. There is a debate though on how to do this:
The Finch report strongly recommended so-called "gold" open access, which ensures the financial security of the journal publishers by essentially swapping their revenue from library budgets to science budgets. One alternative favoured by many academics, called "green" open access, allows researchers to make their papers freely available online after they have been accepted by journals. It is likely this would be fatal for publishers and also Britain's learned societies, which survive through selling journal subscriptions.
The journal publishers have been making out like bandits from publishing the research we pay for so I'm not enthused by the plan to subsidise them for their losses, as I always say, "Go Green !"