Saturday, December 01, 2007

Open is the New Word

The European Union continues to push towards wider open access publishing, but a move provoking concern among publishers. According to EU statistics, member states account for 43% of the world’s scientific research and the Council of the EU last week invited member states to support various open access options including delayed open access journals and research into how scientific information is accessed.

If we look at the Open University Open Learn programme we get some idea of the potential offer. The impact is not just research but potentially across all learning.The logic is that if the research has already been funded with public money then it should be freely available to all. Publishers are concerned that it could led to the drive to an unfunded mandate with delayed open access, where publishers only have a limited period they can charge for access to journals, after which the articles become completely open access.

Publishing in these areas is about authority, validation and quality the trick is to be seen to adding value. Open Access cuts straight across this and is not just about selling into the institutions but where the material goes from there.