Friday, July 20, 2012

A small victory for open access

All taxpayer-funded research in the UK must now be published as open access papers, according to this article in the BBC. The British government will be providing £50m in subsidies for researchers to pay the fees necessary to have their work available as open access.

This is a victory for open access. But, the victory is not complete. Firstly, the £50m is coming out of general research funding, it's not new money. In other words, there will be less research done because of this, as there will be less money available to fund it. Secondly, the money is going to the established academic publishers, who are just going to use it to further pad their profits. Finally, as the article states, many journals will still not accept articles that have the relevant data available from open data repositories.

I still think that eventually, open access journals will over-whelm the old publishers. But they can only do this if the top researchers contribute quality research articles to them. Meanwhile, I personally think that the next step is for reviewers (and editors) to start demanding payment for the labour they provide to the publishers. It is we reviewers and editors who provide the quality control for the journals, it's time we got paid for it.

Would anyone be willing to sign up for a boycott of all publishers, until reviewers and editors are paid?