...The movement for open access is viewed by some as a moral crusade, with research that was funded by public funds needing to be freely available to researchers and others....The moral imperative argument is further strengthened for health and agricultural researchers, where the information could save lives by improving medical care or increasing agricultural production. This editorial will not attempt to refute the moral imperative arguments for open access. Rather, the practical implications of open access will be considered....
[The NIH OA policy] has been interpreted as requiring papers published based on research funded by NIH to be placed on open access through PubMed within a year of publication. Journal publishers will be expected to relinquish copyright under these circumstances. It is not clear whether journal publishers will be willing to do this gratis or require payment of an open access fee. This fee would be the responsibility of the authors....
What are the long-term implications of open access? ...Once the majority of papers in a journal (or perhaps a majority of the best or most highly cited papers) are available via open access, there will be considerable temptation and financial incentive for libraries to cancel journal subscriptions....Cancellation of library subscriptions is anticipated to have a number of effects: There will be an increase in the charges to authors such as page charges and open access fees....The loss of library subscriptions will put pressure on journal publishers to become more efficient by eliminating stages in the process and to use cost-cutting options such as outsourcing technical editing and printing, eliminating printing, or reducing the rigor of peer review....There will be a reduction in the number of journals from publishers ceasing to publish a journal due to reduced income or mergers, particularly for those journals where the margins are already tight....There may even be a shift to electronic journals without complete peer review....
"[The NIH OA policy] has been interpreted as requiring papers published based on research funded by NIH to be placed on open access through PubMed within a year of publication." The policy requires deposit immediately upon acceptance for publication and OA within a year of publication.
"Journal publishers will be expected to relinquish copyright...." Untrue. The policy governs NIH grantees, not publishers. When grantees publish articles based on NIH-funded research, they must retain the right to comply with the NIH policy, but may transfer all other rights to their publisher. The publisher may exercise those rights in any way that it sees fit and hold them until they expire.
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.