CERN Announces Nearly All High-Energy Physics Articles Will Switch To Open Access -- The Largest-Ever OA Initiative

from the well,-flip dept

One of the key insights driving open access is that if all the money currently paid by libraries and other institutions for subscriptions to academic journals was instead used to pay processing charges -- effectively, the cost of publishing -- all articles could be made freely available online to everyone. Unfortunately, getting from one system to the other has proved hard, since it requires many libraries to drop subscriptions and pool their resources so that enough top-quality journals can be published on an open-access basis. That's what makes this news from CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, such a milestone:

After intense preparations and consensus building, CERN has today confirmed that the SCOAP3 Open Access publishing initiative will start on 1 January 2014. With the support of partners in 24 countries, a vast fraction of scientific articles in the field of High-Energy Physics will become Open Access at no cost for any author: everyone will be able to read them; authors will retain copyright; and generous licenses will enable wide re-use of this information.
Making the transition from conventional subscriptions to open access was possible because of CERN's clout in the high-energy physics community, which meant that it was able to persuade a large number of funders to pool their money:
Convened at CERN this is the largest scale global Open Access initiative ever built, involving an international collaboration of over one thousand libraries, library consortia and research organizations. SCOAP3 enjoys the support of funding agencies and has been established in co-operation with leading publishers.
That, in its turn, meant that all the top publishers were willing to participate -- even Elsevier:
Eleven publishers of high quality international journals are participating in SCOAP3. Elsevier, IOP Publishing and Springer, together with their publishing partners, have been working with the network of SCOAP3 national contact points. Reductions in subscription fees for thousands of participating libraries worldwide have been arranged, making funds available for libraries to support SCOAP3.
The importance of this move is not only that practically all high-energy physics papers will soon be available in their final, edited form -- not preprints -- to everyone for no cost, and under a liberal CC-BY licence that allows all kinds of re-use as well as text and data mining, but also that CERN has demonstrated that the flip from old to new academic publishing models is no mere theoretical possibility, but can actually be achieved. Now we need funders in other disciplines to follow suit by banding together and getting publishers to sign up to similar large-scale projects.

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Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2013 @ 1:16am

    But... but... how are we going to ever use this papers to invent something or get deeper insight in th universe if we don#t lock them away for the next 100 years?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. icon
    Ninja (profile), Dec 17th, 2013 @ 1:25am

    This move is much more impacting in the long term than we can fathom at the moment. We've seen how the open genome projects generated much more data and activity than it's closed sibling and at a moment where the key to the future is obtaining clean, reliable and big energy sources this may be key for future developments.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2013 @ 2:27am

    OMG the internet will disappear the Petaflood is coming!

    Jokes aside, I hope people interested in "high-energy physics" have at least a gigabit connection because CERN generates terabytes of data per day.

    No dude you brand new 4 TB HDD won't cut it, if you have a 50 TB HDD somewhere though or equivalent you may be able to download one day and a half of data.
    https://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/Worldwide_LHC_Computing_Grid m/tech-europe/2011/07/13/you-want-big-data-is-cern-big-enough-for-you/

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2013 @ 3:29am


    open access doesn't mean access to the raw data. it means access to the papers published there.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2013 @ 4:39am

    Re: Re:

    Shame really, because I read a list of academic cheaters and it reminds me of the dangers of publishing things without making the raw data available.

    Andrew Jeremy Wakefield
    Yoshitaka Fujii
    Shinichi Fujimura
    William T. Summerlin
    Jon Sudb°
    Asle Sudb°
    Diederik Alexander Stapel
    Jan Hendrik Sch÷n (infamous for the lack of raw data)

    The list goes on and on and on in every country, every scientific field.

    No raw data means no facts, for others to check.

    As anecdote I was reading about academic misconduct and it seems the most cheaters are found in the medical field, of course I should count and classify all the case I could find and post some numbers, that would be my raw data against which others could include insights, point to weak points etc, without that, my statement is as good as something stuck to the bottom of my shoe.

    Oh well, I guess something is better than nothing anyways, at least is a sneak pick under what may come into the future.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2013 @ 4:41am

    Re: Re: Re:

    * cases not case
    ** peek not pick

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    Ninja (profile), Dec 17th, 2013 @ 4:57am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Common sense. It's not even remotely feasible to put the raw data available for download but I'm guessing any serious scientist can take a peek in their facilities. And even so I highly doubt the ones working directly with the data deal with the entirety of it. My guess is that they kind of audit if their automated means of sorting and digesting the data are working by checking portions of it. Sure there are fields where it is feasible (at least one you mentioned) and it is important to have the raw data available but I guess it's not possible in this case.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. icon
    DannyB (profile), Dec 17th, 2013 @ 6:02am

    The RIAA and MPAA will get this shut down

    The RIAA and MPAA will move quickly to get this initiative stopped.

    Access to this would encourage people to have fast internet connections -- something the **AA critters don't want anyone to have. It also requires enormous amounts of data storage -- another thing the **AA holes don't want anyone to have.

    If you have large storage and fast internet, then you must be a pirate. No other legitimate use could exist. Similarly for bit torrent. It could not possibly have non-infringing uses because it is capable of being used for infringement.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Brazilian Guy, Dec 17th, 2013 @ 7:24am

    Re: The RIAA and MPAA will get this shut down

    Then they should have done it a long time ago, as CERN is the birthplace of the Web - they are at the cutting edge of IT. Without CERN, its possible the Internet would still be stuck at a level little better than early 90's level of technology.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2013 @ 1:50pm


    >>I hope people... have at least a gigabit connection because CERN generates terabytes of data per day.

    This is about articles, not raw data. They aren't publishing terabytes worth of articles every day so I think the 4 TB HDD will be fine. :D

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2013 @ 3:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Raw data is unlikely to be released as such. But I am pretty sure that some degree of sorted data used for articles is standard for the author to give out on request. In fact many authors put contact information in articles for that exact reason.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. icon
    hopponit (profile), Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 10:20pm


    I hope this works out, but I noticed a name that makes me wonder, Elsiver. Aren't they the group causing problems now by wanting to lock up publishing research? Maybe they have a good side and a bad side that don't talk to one-another.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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