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News from the open access movement

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The future of OA in high-energy physics

CERN's SCOAP3 project has posted a summary of Rolf-Dieter Heuer's talk, Innovation in Scholarly Communication: Vision and Projects from High Energy Physics, at the Academic Publishing in Europe 2008 conference (Berlin, January 21-23, 2008).  Heuer is the Research director of DESY and Director-General Elect of CERN.  Excerpt:

  • High Energy Physics has been at the frontier of user-pulled innovation in scholarly communication: first mass-mailing preprints for half a century, then the creation of the Word Wide Web and finally Open Access repositories. We are an ideal test-bed for things to come.
  • After the web and repositories, Open Access journals are the natural evolution of scholarly communication in High-Energy Physics. The SCOAP3 initiative, which aims to convert the peer-reviewed subscription journals of the field to Open Access, is gaining momentum with more and more countries signing up. Over the last months, libraries and library consortia across Europe have organised re-direction of their subscription funds, scientists throughout the community are continuously manifesting their support and publishers demonstrate a growing interest.
  • The success of Disciplinary Repositories originates from the benefits of visibility and information discovery they offer to authors. To fully exploit their potential, providers of scientific information in High Energy Physics are now shaping a vision for a next-generation platform, answering clear requirements of HEP scientists. A recent user survey, which collected over 2000 answers, corresponding to about 10% of the practitioners of the field, indicate clearly their needs for a one-stop-shop infrastructure. This should offer access from preprints to Open Access articles, from conference slides to data, eventually enabling Web2.0 applications. Work has started in that direction.
  • The next frontier in scholarly communication in High Energy Physics is the preservation, re-use and Open Access of research data. Due to the complexity of the data, the field has little tradition in this respect, and Prof. Heuer recounted the serendipitous conditions that allowed primary data of an experiment in which he took part in Germany in the ‘80s to be combined, 20 years later, with those from another experiment which he directed at CERN: by sheer luck, old tapes (and expertise) were found, enabling a landmark measurement to be performed. His vision is to make these opportunities the norm rather than the exception: the debate in the field is starting and exciting times are ahead.