Open access will change the world, if scientists want it to
While the Australian Research Council considers its policy on open-access publication and others within the scientific community call for the increased sharing of scientific data, the British are already a step ahead.
They are implementing plans to make all publicly funded scientific research available to anyone by 2014 – for free. This signals a dramatic change for British universities and academics whose current scientific research is only available through expensive subscription-based journals.
But as we edge closer to open-access publishing, there has been much hand-wringing among the scientific community.
The dilemma is this: all scientists want to publish in high-impact journals but we also want our work accessible to as wide an audience as possible. In other words we want the prestige, but we also want the popularisation of our work that open-access publication can bring.
But for scientists in developing countries, the open access movement could mean the world.