The Downside of Open-Access Publishing

Over the past couple of years, many people involved in scientific research and publishing have received increasing numbers of emails with invitations to submit papers to newly established journals, join their editorial boards, or even apply to serve as their editors-in-chief. Personally, I have been alternately amused and annoyed by these messages. A glance at the journal's name or the associated website has told me that these simply are not serious publications. But the establishment of new journals and publishers at a rapidly increasing pace should be taken seriously, since it affects the scientific record as a whole.
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Creative Commons and the Openness of Open Access

The Internet has inspired multiple movements toward greater openness — most prominently, open access, open data, open science, and open educational resources. None of these is based on the belief that there should be such a thing as a free lunch, but each recognizes that the Internet changes the economics of publication and digital-resource sharing so that changes can feasibly be made to traditional practices that are in some ways “closed,” requiring payment for access to information or prohibiting myriad reuses of accessible information. The quality of “openness” applies to both the terms of access and the terms of use. Advocates in each movement — and I am one, serving on the boards of directors of two organizations promoting open access, Creative Commons and the Public Library of Science (PLOS) — share an understanding that an open resource is freely accessible over the Internet. Opinions vary about the terms of use necessary for a resource to be open.

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For the Sake of Inquiry and Knowledge — The Inevitability of Open Access

It's difficult to have a measured conversation about open access — the term widely used to refer to unrestricted online access to articles published in scholarly journals. People who believe that free and unrestricted access to peer-reviewed journal articles will undermine the viability of scholarly journal publishing disagree sharply with those who believe that only open access can expedite research advances and ensure the availability of that same scholarly literature. Arguments for and against open access tend to focus on implementation details, ignoring the powerful motivations underlying the phenomenon.

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Analysis of funder Open Access policies around the world

We have analysed 51 mandatory funder polices listed in the ROARMAP registry ( according to which routes to OA the policy specifies. The results at 10 February 2013 are shown below.
Green (repository-based) OA required
Gold (journals) required where available
Either Green or Gold routes satisfy policy requirements

Funders permitting Gold OA article processing fees to be paid from research grant, or by a request to the funder = 20

Green (repository-based) Open Access required: 36 funders
ArgentinaMinisterio de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación Productiva
AustraliaAustralian Research Council
AustraliaNational Health and Medical Research Council
BelgiumFWO (Flanders Research Office)
CanadaCanadian Institutes of Health Research
CanadaNational Research Council
CanadaInternational Development Research Centre
ChinaNational Science Library Chinese Academy of Sciences
DenmarkCouncil for Independent Research, the Danish National Research Foundation, the Danish Council for Strategic Research, the Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation, and the Council for Technology and Innovation (joint policy)
European UnionEuropean Research Council
EU Member StatesEUR-OCEANS Consortium on Ocean Ecosystem Analysis
FranceAgence Nationale de la Recherche
IrelandScience Foundation Ireland
IrelandHealth Research Board
IrelandIrish Research Council
NorwayNorwegian Research Council
SpainGovernment of the Principality of Asturias
SpainMadrid Autonomous Community
SpainGeneral State Administration
UkraineParliament of Ukraine
UKArthritis Research UK
UKBritish Heart Foundation
UKCancer Research UK
UKChief Scientist Office Scotland
UKDepartment of Health
UKDunhill Medical Trust
UKMultiple Sclerosis Society
UKWellcome Trust
USANational Institutes of Health
USAHoward Hughes Medical Institute
USAAutism Speaks
USAInstitute of Education Sciences

Gold (journal-based) Open Access required: 1 funder
UKResearch Councils UK

Either Green or Gold routes satisfy policy requirements: 14 funders
AustriaFWF (Fonds zur Foerderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung)
CanadaOntario Institute of Cancer Research
CanadaFonds de recherche du Québec
CanadaCanadian Health Services Research Foundation
CanadaHeart and Stroke Foundation
European UnionEuropean Commission
EU Member StatesCERN
HungaryAcademy of Sciences
HungaryHungarian Scientific Research Fund (OTKA)
IndiaCouncil of Scientific and Industrial Research
SwedenSwedish research Council Formas
SwedenSwedish Research Council Vetenskapradet
SwitzerlandSwiss National Science Foundation

The list will be updated as new policies are implemented.  Further analysis of policy requirements is also to be undertaken. Examples of future analyses include policy effectiveness and the kind of deposit requirements specified by Green policies.

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