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Commission's open access report well received by researchers

Scientists and publishers have reacted positively to a report published by the European Commission on open access archiving. The report examined why the current scientific publishing system does not work effectively as it should, and makes a number of policy recommendations f...

Scientists and publishers have reacted positively to a report published by the European Commission on open access archiving. The report examined why the current scientific publishing system does not work effectively as it should, and makes a number of policy recommendations for improving the system. The Commission has requested feedback from the scientific community. 'This is a very important report,' says Matthew Cockerill, Publisher at BioMed Central, an independent online publishing house committed to providing open access to peer-reviewed research. 'It confirms what BioMed Central has been saying for some time - that scientists and funders are getting a poor deal from the traditional publishing system, which delivers limited access at high cost. 'The report also supports the view that open access publication, funded by article processing charges, would provide greater transparency and so deliver a more efficient service to the scientific community,' he adds. Open access advocate Stevan Harnad, a member of the American Scientists' Open Access Forum and professor of cognitive science at Southampton University in the UK has welcomed the report, and in particular the recommendation on guaranteeing public access to publicly-funded research results soon after publication. He has however highlighted one area in which he believes that the proposal could be improved. 'There is a very simple way to make this very welcome recommendation even more effective: separate deposit from OA [open access] access-setting: specify that the deposit must be done immediately upon acceptance for publication, in all cases, and apply all reference to delay to the timing of the access-setting, not deposit,' says Dr Harnard. 'The full text plus its bibliographic metadata (author, title, date, journal, etc) can and should always be deposited in the author's institutional repository immediately upon acceptance for publication, without a moment's delay,' he continues. Scientists are invited to send comments to the Commission by 1 June 2006. The study and feedback will be the focus of a conference on scientific publication to be held in the autumn of 2006.