45 Fellows have signed a letter to the Royal Society about Open Access
The following is the text of an open letter to the Royal Sociey which has now been signed by 45 Fellows:
"As Fellows of the Royal Society, we would like to express our disappointment with the Society's recent position statement on open access to published research. The society's statement, which takes a largely negative stance on open access, appears to be aimed at delaying implementation of the Research Councils UK's proposed policy on access to research outputs.
As working scientists who support open access to published research, we believe that the Society should support RCUK's proposal, rather than oppose it. The proposed RCUK policy will ensure that the results of research funded by the Research Councils are made freely and rapidly available, maximizing their utility not only to the scholarly community in the United Kingdom and around the world, but also to practitioners (including doctors and nurses) and to the British public whose taxes largely support the research. The RCUK policy has strong backing from librarians and academics, and has received official support from Universities UK, the organization that represents UK university vice-chancellors and principals.
In seeking to delay or even to block the proposed RCUK policy, the Royal Society appears to be putting the concerns of existing publishers (including the Society itself) ahead of the needs of science. The position statement ignores considerable evidence demonstrating the viability of open access, instead warning ominously of 'disastrous' consequences for science publishing. We believe that these concerns are mistaken.
The move towards open access to research literature builds on the tradition of making research data openly available, a standard that is well established within the scientific community. For example, free availability of genetic data, such as the genome sequences of humans, mice, pathogens and plants, has greatly accelerated the pace of research in both academic and commercial settings
In adopting a pro-open access policy, RCUK will be joining an increasing number of funding agencies striving for open access to research results. In the UK, the Wellcome Trust has already taken a lead by requiring that articles be placed in an openly accessible archive. In the US, funders such as the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the National Institutes of Health have adopted policies to increase access to research. And across Europe and the rest of the world funding agencies are recognizing that public access to the fruits of the research they fund will ensure that this work is effective in fostering the global sharing of knowledge and the creativity that is essential to scientific endeavour.
As Fellows, we urge the Royal Society not to delay the proposed RCUK policy, but to support it so as to foster professional and public access to research information, and to enable British research to achieve its maximum potential."
To read the text of the letter and the list of signees click here