Open access to knowledge?

One of the movements that is beginning to get a toe-hold in the academic world is the drive for open access to research. Currently the output of most research is published in academic journals which are then made available to subscribers, whether in print or online. The publishers of these have a captive market, their customers being mainly university libraries, and the subscription rates have in some instances been ludicrously high. As university budgets decline and library costs escalate, many have been unable to maintain the full range of subscriptions that would give faculty and students proper access to leading research.

In this setting a movement has grown over recent years to develop an open access framework for research, protecting intellectual property but giving access to published output. The European Commission has also recommended the adoption of an open access framework. The significance of all this should not be under-estimated, and the movement should be widely supported. There is a real chance otherwise that the scholarly community will become unable to participate in the development of research and in the life of the global research community.

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8 Comments on “Open access to knowledge?”

  1. Niall Says:

    There is an interesting parallel with open (free) access to teaching and learning materials. Academics are increasingly sharing and reusing teaching materials through repositories such as Merlot and Ireland’s NDLR. Both academic publishers and libraries are being challenged to respond to these changes.

  2. kevin denny Says:

    The economics community in Europe responded to the expensive Elsevier journals partly by setting up their own journal, Journal of the European Economics Association. A small step in the right direction.

  3. Aoife Citizen Says:

    High energy physics is the discipline to imitate; all papers are put in preprint form on a single archive:, if your paper is not on the arxiv, it’s not read and, conversely, every paper since about 1992 is freely available to everyone, absolutely everyone.

    Journal publication is post-hoc, a paper which is on the arxiv for some time and doesn’t have a journal reference might be regarded with slight suspicion and of course, refereed papers are required for promotion, but the primary point of access is the arxiv.

    Some journals tried to fight this, but prominent figures in the field were clear in their support for the arxiv, any journal that tried to introduce copyright terms incompatible with preprinting in the arxiv found them impossible to impose.

    It amazes me that this model hasn’t spread beyond high energy physics.

  4. In practice just about every researcher puts a preprint of their working papers on a publicly accessible space, and if they don’t are more than happy to email you copies of their work when asked, so I think the revolution is already here in many respects–the institutional repositories, etc, just have to catch up to practice on the ground.

  5. davidmorales056 Says:

    Under Open Access philosophy, Redalyc aims to contribute to the editorial scientific activity produced in and about Ibero-America making available for public consultation the contents of 550 scientific journals of different knowledge areas:

  6. rebeca Says:

    Redalyc is a scientific system whose main goal is to make science visible by having online and completely free for download more tan 119805 scientific articles on wide text which users may read, analyze and criticise.

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