Source: CORDIS News - 9/11/2006
Open Access publishing in physics gains momentum
For the first time ever, an entire scientific field is exploring the possibility of converting its reader-paid journals into an author-paid Open Access format.
The paradigm shift would involve moving from the traditional model of financing publications through reader subscriptions to free-for-readers publications financed by funding agencies via laboratories and the authors themselves.
In addition to revolutionising the academic publishing world, Open Access could also have a great impact on research itself as researchers and funding agencies would see their opportunities broaden with the unlimited distribution of their publicly funded research results.
The funding agencies have taken the lead in this project and are currently in the process of establishing a sponsoring consortium for Open Access publishing in particle physics, SCOAP3. It has already received expressions of support from many European countries, funding agencies, laboratories, the European Committee for Future Accelerators (ECFA) and both national and international library consortia.
'There is a wind of change blowing and with it the possibility to experiment with new models - in this CERN is perceived as the pioneer of a new publishing paradigm and the SCOAP initiative as a pilot project for future developments in scientific publishing,' said Peteris Zilgalvis, the Head of Unit of Ethics and Science at DG research of the European Commission.
Publishers are also aligning themselves with the opportunities offered by Open Access publishing. Journals published by the American Institute of Physics, the American Physical Society, Elsevier and Springer have already started to offer authors the possibility to make their articles freely available to readers.
As for the publishing consortium of the European Physical Journal, it has lowered the price tag for an Open Access option and announced an author-friendly approach to copyright.
At the same time, the publishers of the Journal of High Energy Physics (JHEP) have stated that they are ready to embrace a sponsorship policy in which they would allow unrestricted access to their articles. Regarding the costs involved in such a policy, JHEP stated: 'we have managed to prove that the costs can be reduced whilst at the same time ensuring the highest rigour in peer review'.
If successful, the Open Access format could represent a quantum leap for the High Energy Physics publishing landscape and the wider world of scientific research.
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