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.