back to article Wellcome Trust backs boffins in open publishing row

The Wellcome Trust, one of the world’s largest non-government funders of science, has reiterated its open-access policy, in a move seen as supporting the growing scientists’ revolt against major academic publisher Elsevier. So far, more than 9,000 scientists worldwide have attached their names to a boycott of Elsevier, which …


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  1. Gordon 10

    What precisely

    Are the costs of Open Access publishing?

    Formatting, editing, copy editing - what?

    Genuinely don't understand.

    1. Magnus_Pym

      Re: What precisely

      ...and how are costs recouped form Elsevier?

    2. Richard 81

      Re: What precisely

      If you want to publish in an open access journal, or make your paper open access in a paid-for journal, you have to pay. Why you have to pay is another question.

      1. Paul Kinsler

        what you (might) have to pay

        Examples from the physical sciences

        New. J. Phys. -- mandatory article fee £650 (but £550 for IoP members) (

        APS journals: (

        Phys Rev -- open access fee $1700

        Phys Rev Lett -- open access fee $2700

        OSA journals: (

        Opt. Express -- mandatory fee $1018 for 6 or fewer published pages

        JOSA, etc -- open access fee $1500

  2. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    What about copyright?

    I seem to recall that copyright is transferred to Elsevier and its cohorts upon acceptance for publishing; that might well have an impact on the requirement to publish in MedPub.

    Nonetheless, I do think this is an important step; it seems to me that the more published peer-reviewed material the better. It's extremely annoying and prohibitively expensive for someone not currently in the academic work to get access to this material - though I have a bad feeling that this is not going to have much impact on the last hundred years of work... that's still going to be stuck behind a paywall.

    1. Paul Kinsler

      Re: What about copyright?

      If your research grant mandates open access in a manner incompatible with (eg) Elsevier's conditions, then you should not publish results funded by that grant in an Elsevier journal.

  3. Andy 66

    Why the high costs for Open Access journals?

    The costs of publishing in not-for-profit Open Access journals like PLoS are also exorbitant, and inline with the costs of making your Elsevier manuscript OA....

    How is that place non-profit? Shirley all there are are admin and hosting costs? for eg, PLoS Biology published 260 papers in the last 12 months, and @$2900/paper == $750k. 6 other journals in the plos range publishing similar numbers of manuscripts and similar(ish) costs, so rough estimate of 4-5 million in revenue per year. They don't pay their reviewers and their editors get peanuts, so how is all this non-profit?

  4. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    What I cannot understand

    Why oh why do scientists not simply buy a web site address and "publish" themselves ?

    It's not rocket science, and Google will find them soon enough (with a tiny effort).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What I cannot understand

      Aggregating items of a certain type has a very real value to the reader. Just consider that you read this story on El Reg presumably without first thinking "I'll go looking for more Elsevoir revolt stories" but clicked an interesting headline on the contents page.

      Instead of this Register journal/website existing the dozen or two contributors could blog and you could follow those but (a) the research journal equivalent would be hundreds of blogs with only one or two posts per year (b) the continued success of such sites suggests the edited aggregation model has value for readers (c) much of that value is filtering out the kooks...

  5. David Pollard

    A touch of humour

    Top marks to the authors of the spoof paper 'Computer application in mathematics' for poking fun at Elsevier, who published it in one of their learned journals. So much for the claims about peer review!

    "Computer magnification is a Universal computer phenomenon. This technique is applied in physics, astronomy, biology, medicine, architecture, particle physics, genetics, microbiology and in chemistry. Without magnification, deep studies and research are impossible. For the first time in the history of mathematics, the authors applied magnification technology and obtained a solution for a nearly 4300 year old parallel postulate problem. In brief an impossible proposition was proved as possible. This is a problematic problem. Further studies will give birth to a new branch of mathematical science."

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