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U.K. Panel Charts Path To Open Access

by Britt E. Erickson
June 25, 2012 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 90, Issue 26

The results of taxpayer-funded scientific research should be free to be accessed immediately upon publication, a report commissioned by the U.K. government concludes. The report recommends that publishers adopt open-access models over the next few years, particularly models that charge authors fees to offset publication costs. The long-awaited document is called the Finch report, after Janet Finch, a sociologist at the University of Manchester, in England, and chair of the group behind the report. It states that the transition to open access will be complex and “no single channel can on its own maximise access to research publications for the greatest number of people.” Even so, the report favors a transition to what it calls “gold” open access, with authors paying publication charges to have their work freely accessible, as opposed to “green” open access, with publishers allowing access to journal articles for free after an embargo period of about six to 12 months. Publishers in the U.K. welcome the report, but open-access advocates say that, to sustain the profits of publishers, the report overlooks potentially cheaper ways to achieve open access.


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