Posted tagged ‘open access’

Open access to knowledge?

November 17, 2009

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.