Behind the curve as usual, but the Guardian last week brought news that the Welcome Trust (in US terms think Howard Hughes, or the Gates Foundation, or insert the local megabucks private foundation for medical research here) was tired of subsidizing Elsevier and Nature
Sir Mark Walport, the director of Wellcome Trust, said that his organisation is in the final stages of launching a high calibre scientific journal called eLife that would compete directly with top-tier publications such as Nature and Science, seen by scientists as the premier locations for publishing. Unlike traditional journals, however, which cost British universities hundreds of millions of pounds a year to access, articles in eLife will be free to view on the web as soon as they are published.Much premature celebration in the comments.
He also said that the Wellcome Trust, which spends more than £600m on scientific research a year, would soon adopt a more robust approach with the scientists it funds, to ensure that results are freely available to the public within six months of first publication.
A VERY long time ago a very old professor of Eli's told him that after the war (WWII you whippersnappers) when the US was setting up science funding on a much larger scale, there was a discussion of how to fund scientific publishing. The commercial publishers objected to direct funding of learned societies, so the page charge mechanism was set up. There is no reason for it to continue, nor is there reason for funding agencies not to insist on open publication. Harold Varmus was right and increasingly this is a policy that more funding agencies are adopting.
Eli will simply append the new policy from the British Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. Perhaps this will bring James back to Britain??
Issue date: 29 September 2011Category: Briefing
EPSRC has introduced a new policy on access to research outputs. The policy has been mandated by the EPSRC Council and recognises the need for increased availability and accessibility of publicly-funded research findings, as demonstrated by the recently announced Working Group established by Science Minister David Willetts.
Open access to research publications is now policy in an increasing number of major funding agencies such as the other UK Research Councils, the Wellcome Trust, the US National Science Foundation and National Institutes for Health.
EPSRC’s policy, which is in line with RCUK’s position, covers access to any form of scholarly work arising from EPSRC funding and accepted for publication in an academic journal.
The policy requires that all published EPSRC-funded research articles submitted for publication from 1 September 2011 must be made available on an Open Access basis.
Importantly, the policy leaves researchers free to publish in the journal most suited to the subject of their research. It is expected that publications will be made Open Access through one of two main routes:
Gold Open Access (pay-to-publish) – peer-reviewed papers published in fully Open Access journals which do not charge subscription fees, or in ‘hybrid’ subscription journals which enable free access to ‘pre-paid’ articles. Subject to certain criteria the publishing fees may be met from direct or indirect costs on EPSRC Research Grants.
Green Open Access – research is published in traditional subscription journals and authors self-archive their papers (as accepted for publication) in a digital online repository.
Publications will preferably be openly accessible from the date of publication. However, the current prevalence of embargo periods means this may not be a realistic option in some areas of engineering and physical sciences research. EPSRC therefore encourages authors to publish within the shortest embargo period attainable commensurate with ensuring their work achieves maximum impact.