Frustrated with the slow transition toward open access (OA) in scientific publishing, 11 national funding organizations in Europe turned up the pressure today. As of 2020, the group, which jointly spends about €7.6 billion on research annually, will require every paper it funds to be freely available from the moment of publication. In a statement, the group said it will no longer allow the 6- or 12-month delays that many subscription journals now require before a paper is made OA, and it won’t allow publication in so-called hybrid journals, which charge subscriptions but also make individual papers OA for an extra fee.
The move means grantees from these 11 funders—which include the national funding agencies in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and France as well as Italy’s National Institute for Nuclear Physics—will have to forgo publishing in thousands of journals, including high-profile ones such as Nature, Science, Cell, and The Lancet, unless those journals change their business model. “We think this could create a tipping point,” says Marc Schiltz, president of Science Europe, the Brussels-based association of science organizations that helped coordinate the plan. “Really the idea was to make a big, decisive step—not to come up with another statement or an expression of intent.”
ROBERT STEELE: Elsevier and Thomson-Reuters have been arrogant and stupid. This was obvious years ago, and the emergence of the Sci Hub in Russia simply made it clear that the authors and end-users themselves were fed up with the “harvesting” of their knowledge and prepared to share password access to subvert the highly disfunctional system. We publish 1% of the paper written which are perhaps 1% of the total writing including analog, which is perhaps 1% of what can be known. Insanity. No one has wanted to design a world brain that could achieve 100% connectivity — all minds, all information, all languages, all mediums. Like the agricultural and energy industries, we are “locked in” to the old rentier paradigm, the old Western economy that favors the 1% over the 99%. The times they are a’ changing. Not fast enough.