Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

More on the RCUK policy

Clive Cookson, Scientists reignite open access debate, Financial Times, August 31, 2005 (full-text accessible only to subscribers). Excerpt:
A group of computer scientists yesterday reignited the debate over access to results of publicly funded research, issuing a detailed riposte to journal publishers who oppose plans to make research freely available on the internet. The seven computer experts - including Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the worldwide web, who is a professor at Southampton University - sent their analysis to Research Councils UK, the umbrella body responsible for all publicly funded research in Britain. It called on the body to stick to its proposal to make it compulsory for research papers to be deposited in open-access databases as soon as possible. Journal publishers are campaigning against the draft RCUK policy, for which a period of public consultation ends today. Sally Morris, chief executive of the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers, said: "We are convinced that RCUK's proposed policy will inevitably lead to the destruction of journals." Reed Elsevier, the largest commercial publisher of scientific journals, said its analysis "shows that if the RCUK proposal was implemented, access would not increase beyond current levels; current quality assurance levels could be reduced; UK higher education institutes would end up paying more for articles they can already access; the continuity and completeness of the scientific record would be threatened; and the productivity of multiple stakeholders in the UK science research community would be reduced". But the computer scientists maintain the publisher's claims are unsubstantiated, "not least because evidence has shown that not only can journals co-exist and thrive alongside author self-archiving, they can actually benefit from it. Authors, institutions, fund-ers and publishers benefit from the increased visibility, use and impact of research articles that are self-archived and freely available to all".