Apparently 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 shake up of academic publishing since the invention of the internet.
So you will be able to get full acess to published papers rather than just abstracts, whereas now many of the papers are published in journals. The journals charge library subscriptions about £200,000,000 to UK universities so that you get access to the work. Therefore the papers are hid behind a paywall that is not open to all.
It is suggested that there is a need for research articles to be freely available when they are submitted for the Research Excellence Framework . This will be a bit of a bummer if it is put in place for the REF2014 as all those Nature papers that the Universities are desperate for us to publish in because of their high impact factor will be of no use and we will have to rely on open source journals that have an impact factor of 0. So they are trying to pull us in two directions, which are not compatible with each other. The academic spring is being led by people who have no concept of medical academia as their papers will be low impact factor anyway and so less important for their REF returns
You can not change the insitutions over
night and UK academics will probably suffer from this.
The solution will be to pay the journals to have the papers open access, this could be around £2,000-£5,000 each. Much of the medical research done in the UK is not funded via the UK government. Publishing will become an expensive business for Dr. vD:-). The research councils are probably not going to shell out thousands extra for their PhD students. In addition the charities are not going to want to fund this. If you have negative data will you want to publish it?, maybe not if it is going to cost thousands. If you have poorly funded academics they are going to have problems paying for the publications.
Also will the Universities have to pay twice, once to publish and again to access the other articles in the journals written by academics outside the UK? My guess is yes and the publishers must be rubbing their hands.
Maybe the Government should set up an open access journal and make all British University Research be published in it-I can see it now the Journal of British Research. I think the Wellcome Trust is planning on an ejournal so maybe let them do it.....and pay for it.
the new 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. "If the taxpayer has paid for this research to happen, that work
shouldn't be put behind a paywall before a British citizen can read it".
However, would it be like the access to the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) to see their TV programmes on a computer as the British Taxpayer pays for this also. If you have a UK IP address this is easy, but there is no way to check if you have indeed bought a TV licence, which is used to pay for the BBC service. However go on holiday and you are stuffed. If the foreigner has not paid for it should we let them read it. This is not very open access.
If there was a Journal of British Research would Amercians be bothered to read it. This is why British authors often attempt to publish in
International journals, to give themselves international status. Before the Internet it was the case that American scientists seldom cited work from non-US journals, as if the work did not exist.
However, the problem is that the UK output to global research is small and so the rest of the World will not care what the British force on the British. It is an excersize that will probably cost more money in the long run. Surely this should be handled at the level of the European Union to give governments and academics some real clout when dealing with the publishers and is more likely to get some action if they feel this is an issue. This move will hit established publishing mainly European houses hardest. New publishing Houses often from the East are springing up to fill the open source niche, with no need to actually print anything you can do it from your Bedroom.
However, open access does not always mean more quality as there is an increasing deluge of journals appearing desperate for you to publish so that they can charge you to pay for what you write, so it is all about self-advertising. There is an incentive for output over quality and so there is increasing amounts of mushroom food published every day. Diluting the amount of publishing stock means that individual journals are cited less and their impact factor goes down. Journal titles give a marker of the quality of the paper and it is this type of quality that the Government rewards our universities with.
However so much for open access if it does not appear on pubmed as often people do not know it exists. Pubmed charge to have journals on this service and make printed journals wait before they can appear on Pubmed. This desire for open access will no doubt change the way we publish and referee papers....it will still be a business just a different business. As for refereeing will we still do this for free as we do now, when the journals are getting a few grand for each paper?
Importantly, if people receiving research funds from the Research Councils actually read their responsibilities they would realise that it is already a condition of grant for open access, So what is all the fuss about?
This is ignored often because the Universities will not cough up the money for publications, which they got from the Government when the grants were awarded. They would rather use this money to pay their staff..maybe librarians even.
PS Maybe the British Library is overflowing with printed journals and is running out of space :-)