As an organisation, Blackwell is keen to be seen as an active participant in the evolution of the industry and as a key mover and influencer of overall trends within publishing. “In terms of understanding the way the market is evolving and developing, again we want to get there before anyone else,” he said, citing the example of the current open access debate. Traditionally, articles and publications have been made available to relevant persons and institutions through the charging of subscriptions. “The dilemma is that some funding organisations think that having paid for the research they should not have to pay again to obtain access to the output,” he explained.
Open Access can be achieved through a new model: the author or their institution pays the publishing costs and the publisher then makes the article available online free of charge. This shift to publishers selling their services to authors is controversial as it could create a barrier to authorship and may lead to lower standards. However, some authors and their funders (particularly the Wellcome Trust which is the largest independent funder of biomedical research in the UK with an annual budget of around £400 million) are asking for it so Blackwell is offering an author pays option with around 150 journals (largely in biomedicine) calling the service OnlineOpen.
Another aspect of Open Access is more of a challenge. Some funding agencies are demanding that their researchers self-archive for free access over the net within six months of publication. This could undermine the paid circulation of journals as librarians might no longer feel the need to pay when the material soon becomes available from institutional repositories and can be readily found through search engines such as Google. Blackwell is heavily involved in lobbying funding agencies and government departments directly or alongside the societies for whom it publishes to ensure a sustainable balance between the demand for Open Access and economic sense.
Peter Suber at 11/02/2006 01:11:00 PM.
The open access movement:
Putting peer-reviewed scientific and scholarly literature
on the internet. Making it available free of charge and
free of most copyright and licensing restrictions.
Removing the barriers to serious research.