RSC Chief Executive Dr Robert Parker on Open Access

11 April 2012

The Editor,
The Guardian


Your editorial today (An open and shut case, 11 April) contains a lot of striking misconceptions about the costs of scientific publishing. 'Open Access' does not mean free, as many readers may have assumed, with many costs involved including managing systems and content to name just one. 

You also fail to mention the different Open Access models currently being considered by the Research Council UK that will have significantly different impacts on sustainability within the STM publishing industry, which makes a massive contribution to the UK economy.

The Royal Society of Chemistry supports a move towards Gold Open Access - a more sustainable model - and encourages funding to be made available to support authors during any transition from reader to author side payments. The final article is immediately made available to all.

Models based on Green Open Access, where a version of the paper (often the author's manuscript) is made available via a subject or institutional repository and an embargo period of between six to 24 months often involved, are unsustainable, inherently complicated and should be avoided. No payment is made under Green Open Access and publishers are expected to recoup their investment through traditional sales during the embargo period.

Under the RSC's 'Open Science' model, authors are currently offered the option of paying a fee in exchange for making their accepted communication, research paper or review article openly available to all via the web.

We have sent our submission to the RCUK's Proposed Policy on Access to Research Outputs and look forward to receiving its findings.

Dr Robert Parker, Chief Executive,
Royal Society of Chemistry  
Burlington House

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Link icon Academic journals: an open and shut case
The Wellcome Trust's intiative to establish an open-access journal should put an end to a silly system.

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