31 July 2012
By Sarah Davies
Many will have seen the recent discussion around the Finch Report, which argued for widespread open access publication through the so-called ‘Gold’ model and which seems to have been fully taken on board by the UK government. David Willets, the universities and science minister, has promised that research funded by taxpayers will be free to access by 2014. In the words of the Guardian, however:
The Finch report strongly recommended so-called “gold” open access, which ensures the financial security of the journal publishers by essentially swapping their revenue from library budgets to science budgets. One alternative favoured by many academics, called "green" open access, allows researchers to make their papers freely available online after they have been accepted by journals. It is likely this would be fatal for publishers and also Britain's learned societies, which survive through selling journal subscriptions.
There is some nice discussion of these moves at the LSE’s impact of social science blog, and a long-running thread on the International Network on Public Communication of Science and Technology (PCST)’s email list which includes responses from the editors of the three main journals in science communication (Public Understanding of Science, Science Communication, and the Journal of Science Communication). The general view seems to be that the government, and Janet Finch, have missed a trick by not standing up more to the big name journal publishers and going for a “green” open access model. What do you think? Will the changes make any difference to how you publish?