back to article UK's tax-funded boffinry to be published FREE for all

Universities will be provided with funding to ensure that their academics' research papers are made more widely available, the government has said. The government broadly backed recommendations contained in a report by the Working Group on Expanding Access to Published Research Findings in its policy aimed at supporting 'open …


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  1. DavCrav

    Probably wrong decision, at least for mathematics

    In mathematics, we have been fairly successful in getting the publishers running scared that their entire industry will be destroyed by essentially free journals. Putting aside money to pay monopoly profits to journals legitimises their behaviour and makes our threats sound hollow.

    And paying to publish opens a whole new can of worms.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Probably wrong decision, at least for mathematics

      > And paying to publish opens a whole new can of worms.

      Indeed. If, say, I happened to have been made redundant from my institution, but still wanted to publish some perfectly valid work at a later stage, who pays? Should you really expect an independent worker to stump up amounts of the order of £1000 to publish?

      In practice, I'd hope that many journals, e.g. those from scientific societies (eg the IoP or APS) to be sympathetic and waive or drastically reduce fees. But it's an issue that should be addressed.

  2. Arctic fox
    Thumb Up


    See title. -:)

  3. g e

    OK, but

    Why don't the Universities electronically publish the documents themselves and someone just cobble together a federated search of all their publishing?

    I get that guys like EBSCO still want to 'make a living' off publicly funded research but really, a PDF version? How hard can it be?

    I'm assuming the scientific journals cover their publishing costs through subscription, of course, too, meaning that route can be essentially ignored for these purposes.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: OK, but

      Because web serving, data storage, backup, bandwidth and support aren't free and aren't the business of a University.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: OK, but

        "Because web serving, data storage, backup, bandwidth and support aren't free and aren't the business of a University."

        Every academic I know or know of has web pages hosted by his or her university. At a minimum, they usually have an overview of their research interests and a list of publications, many with a link to a freely available version of the paper.

        But you believe this isn't the business of a university. Do you think these web pages have no academic value? Or broader value to the community at large? What would you do instead?

    2. David Ward 1

      Re: OK, but

      Quality content needs editing and more importantly reviewing and ranking, that is what is valued in a journal not the printing press or the hosting, and it isn't cheap.

    3. PyLETS

      Re: OK, but

      All in favour of open access, and providing web space for papers is cheap and easy to the point of being effectively free.

      But the real cost of publishing, apart from the work of authorship, concerns finding appropriate peer reviewers, editors and proofreaders. Also very often the best peer review will come from another university. For this reason, good open-access journals are often not associated with a single university, but operate through websites run by the editorial collaboration.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: OK, but

      > Why don't the Universities electronically publish ...

      I believe that some (eg Imperial) now insist that all papers are (also) uploaded to their institutional repository.

      But although having thought for years that this would be eminently sensible, when actually faced with the prospect of yet another upload process (as well as arxiv and the journal) , my enthusiasm has cooled somewhat. :-)

  4. Kristian Walsh

    Fat cats to adopt a healthier more active lifestyle

    The journals have an important place in academic publishing, but their control of the distribution channel (and their abuse of that control) has masked it. It's the journals that arrange peer-review and fact-checking on published papers, and collate both similar and complementary research papers in one place.

    The linking of publications to tenure contracts means that there's so much more dross published every week than before: It has to be worth paying someone to sift it and check it before it takes up your valuable time.

    However, that doesn't mean those publishers should own the reproduction rights for eternity. That was wrong, and it's good to see it being stopped.

  5. Stuart Halliday
    Thumb Up

    Long over due!

    About time. All scientific work we pay for should be made freely available to everyone.

    Free access to information should always be a priority!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Long over due!

      /All/ the work scientific, really? All of it?

      As I've said before:

      You might say that every work-relating thing I [did] at my desk (that isn't admin or teaching) is taxpayer funded research. So, you all want access to a scan of every bit of paper or back of envelope I ever scrawled an idea on? A recording of research related tea break discussions? A video of me looking baffled for several hours (or sometimes, days)? Half finished work that will probably sit in a drawer for a while until I get the idea that enables me to finish it? Experiment or simulation data that makes no sense to anyone but to me, and is currently inconclusive? If so, when? Now? After 1 year, or 2, or ten? And do you want explanatory notes and documentation; if so will you fund an an assistant to help?

      But if all you want is the published research paper to be freely available, then fine. I do that already, using my website or the arxiv. But "research" doesn't mean just published papers or large formal, managed datasets, or carefully documented simulation code.

  6. maccy

    I guess some of your commenters aren't familiar with academic publishing

    Those that say that e.g. " the real cost of publishing ... concerns finding appropriate peer reviewers, editors and proofreaders" because those services are provided free to the journal publisher by academics. Except proofreading, which is all but nonexistent.

    Who would have thought that you could make so much money by employing highly qualified people (writers, reviewers etc) for free?

  7. Philip Birch

    Double hit

    University already have to pay for the journals and now we have pay to publish as well. I can't see what's wrong with simply putting the PDF on our own website like many people do already. Google usually finds them.

  8. mhenriday

    Will one really have to sit on a UK bog

    in order to access this research ? That may be asking rather much of the more squeamish prospective readers among us....


  9. Infernoz Bronze badge

    Stupid medieval thinking

    The whole idea of dedicated publishers is obsolete, except for tarted up material; printing is not expensive now and often not even required.

    The internet exists, P2P exists, cloud services exist, so why not just release it to a managed server cloud or via P2P; paper versions could be printed from this quite cheaply.

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