Open-Access Journals: A Perspective From Within

Jonathan Carroll | The Conversation | October 1, 2012

There’s an ongoing debate in the world of academic publishing about whether the public should be allowed open access to research publications we all pay for in the first place. “If we are paying for this research, aren’t we entitled to scrutinise the results?” That’s the call-to-arms I’m hearing at the moment, and I thought (as a research physicist and taxpayer) it might be helpful to point out a few seemingly overlooked aspects to add to the discussion.

The latest episode in the ongoing saga is a deal brokered by the Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics (SCOAP³) to make all particle physics papers open access. The deal means journal subscription fees paid by university libraries would be directed towards 12 selected journals in return for public access to those journals. SCOAP³ claims the deal will result in more than 90% of particle physics papers being available for everyone. An immediate query I have is whether this “90%” conclusion takes into account any push to publish in these (and only these) open-access journals...