It’s official. The report by Dame Janet Finch, mentioned in an earlier post, The open access train is getting up a head of steam, has recommended that papers describing publicly funded research should be made available to read for free by 2014.
An article in the Guardian describes minister for universities and science, David Willetts’ hopes for the “massive economic benefits” that should follow. However, it sounds as if the cost of this transition will have to be carried by the existing science budget for which no extra funding is to be provided.
This is bound to prove more than a little disruptive for an area that has seen tension between academia and publishers increase over the years, ever since the first university, which I think was Cornell back in 2003, decided to boycott the steep licence fee renewal to Elsevier. It was accompanied that year by other universities (California and even wealthy Harvard) deciding to cut, quite severely, the number of titles they renewed due to the high costs involved.
Exciting times, and a move in the right direction, but I doubt it will be an easy ride.