Set default to Open Access is this year’s theme for Open Access week. The idea is that Open Access should be the first choice when publishing research. Goal of Open Access week is to raise researchers’ awareness of Open Access as an alternative way to publish instead of the traditional “closed access” way of publishing and distributing research results. The Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities was created and signed by many universities and libraries almost ten years ago. The declaration defines open access and states that the research process is only half finished if the results are not spread throughout the society so that the public can easily get access to the results. The declaration basically supports Open Access publishing.
During 2012 Open Access movement has reached several milestones. In April the World Bann announce that they will implement Open Access policy which in the long term means that all research funded by the World Bank will be made available with no cost to the reader. In July some British politicians suggested that the British government should make sure that all research funded by public funds should be made available online with no cost to the reader. During the same month even some American politicians recommended that all research funded by NIH (National Institute of Health) should be freely available no later than six months after publishing.
The Finch report which was published last summer stated that Open Access will be the way for the scholars to publish in the future. Finch report recommends the gold way (publishing in Open Access journals) instead of the green way (depositing publication in an institutional archive). The transition to Open Access journal will not happen immediately and it will not be without costs. At the moment the British universities pay about £200m a year for access to scientific journals. According to the Finch report it will cost about £60m a year to have all British publicly funded research freely available. Now the British government is planning to make all research available by 2014 though there will be no special funds for this reform. It is planned that a part of the existing research funds will be used to fund this change. It is an admirable goal the British goverment is working towards but there are those who criticize the chosen road to Open Access. Stevan Harnad, one of the most influential people within the movement, is of the opinion that the gold road to Open Access is not the best or most effective way to reach the goal, especially when there will be no additional funds. He advocates the green road.
One other great success for Open Access is that the EU Commission has said that all research funded by Horizon 2020, EUs new framework for research with €80 billion to allocate, has to be made open access six to twelve months after publishing. Just a couple a weeks ago the news that the whole area of particle physics will be transitioning to open access was published.
In Sweden the government has published its proposition for research politics for 2013-2016 (Forskning och innovation Prop, 2012/13:30) and in it they have commissioned The Swedish Research Council to develop forms and guidelines for open access, for both research results and research data.
Text: Pieta Eklund