Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Opening access to research

Quite an old piece but relevant today:

Rising journal costs restrict access to scientific research. Martyn Bull reports on a campaign to get institutions to set up free internet archives

If the purpose of scientific publishing is to increase access to knowledge to enable further advances in science and technology, then researchers are not doing much to help. Too often they care more about the impact of publishing in a high-status journal than how many people might be able to read it.
The report advocates radical change in the scientific publishing process to prevent escalating costs and restrictive publisher agreements choking access to scientific research. It recommends that authors disseminate their research for free on the internet by storing articles in institutional archives, as well as backing a switch from “subscriber pays” to “author pays” publishing.
The SHERPA initiative is arguing that scholars put their research work on university/institution archives so the general public can access them free of cost.
My question is: how then, do the research scholars make money ? It is correct that journal costs are way too high. However, I do not think making the papers themselves free will help.

What are your comments ? Is that the way to go ?