Colloquium on Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics
To promote a change in the current publishing model the Director-General organised the open meeting, particularly aimed at CERN authors and editors, on the 16th September to discuss the requirements for making open access publishing an attractive publishing model for the particle physics community.
The meeting was attended by more than a hundred physicists and the following debate showed that the author community is ready to explore new publishing patterns even if there are many issues to be taken into account in order to achieve a successful change.
Prior to this even, in June 2005, representatives from the LHC Collaborations, CERN's Scientific Information Policy Board and the CERN Library met to discuss various possible scenarios for publishing LHC physics results obtained from the experiments planned to start in 2007.
All parties agreed that particle physics results from the last 10 years are basically 100% freely available through arXiv.org, CERN Document Server and SLAC SPIRES. However, this availability has not significantly changed the publishing pattern of the community and the criteria for academic advancements and yet this publishing system is currently under pressure to change from the open access movement. Given that open access is practically already achieved in particle physics through the freely available electronic archives of pre- and post-prints, the distribution and peer-review of papers for this field could in future remain within the current publishing model.
However, as the prices of subscription journals are continually increasing by a factor many times that of the average inflation and as new technologies have created alternative possibilities for distribution of scientific results, it is clear to the group that it is a desirable goal to modify the present publishing model towards open access and low cost journals. The open access movement gives added impetus to a change that is also desirable for other reasons.
Prof. Daniele Amati, the founder of the Journal of High Energy Physics (JHEP) and an open access publishing pioneer, was invited to present the history of JHEP and its vision for open access publishing. The LHC collaborations feel positive about exploring new publishing models provided that features such as peer-review and long-term archiving are preserved. It is also of high importance that the funding agencies start to consider publication costs as being part of research budgets.
In addition, it was stressed that open access publishing requires a range of actors, as has been the case under the current paradigm, in order to regulate the market and maintain a healthy competition among the publishers. To promote a change in the current publishing model CERN proposes a meeting of all parties involved in the current publication chain but who are also interested in open access publishing. By gathering those publishers that are favourable to OA, funding agencies and research institutions together to discuss the future of scientific communication in physics, CERN strongly believes that a change, albeit with all the problems such a change will imply, can be achieved through a transition plan expressing a common understanding of all the parties involved. The first meeting for planning this transition is proposed for the 7/8 December at CERN. The meeting will hopefully result in the establishment of a task-force, and possibly in the agreement of some concrete decisions for a way forward. Its timing is intended to allow the presentation of a report at the high profile Berlin 4 conference, which is pioneering the Open Access movement, and is expected to take place in Germany in the spring of 2006.
Claus Montonen(EPS), Daniele Amati(SISSA), Fred Friend(JISC), Fridger Schrempp(DESY), Guido Altarelli(CERN), Hans-Ake Gustafsson(University of Lund (ALICE)), Jan Velterop(Springer), Ken Lilliwhite(IOPP), Marc Brodsky(AIP), Michael Praszalowicz(Acta Physica Polonica, B), Poole John(JACoW), Steinar Stapnes(University of Oslo (ATLAS))