As many of you know the Finch Committee Report and its support of “gold” open access has gotten a lot of press both pro and con. The battle lines continue to be drawn. InfoDOCKET reports an article in the Guardian that notes the UK government “is to unveil controversial plans to make publicly funded scientific research immediately available for anyone to read for free by 2014, in the most radical shakeup of academic publishing since the invention of the internet. Under the scheme, research papers that describe work paid for by the British taxpayer will be free online for universities, companies and individuals to use for any purpose, wherever they are in the world. In an interview with the Guardian before Monday’s announcement David Willetts, the universities and science minister, said he expected a full transformation to the open approach over the next two years…”
This is an obvious government endorsement of the recent Finch Committee report favoring “gold” open access over the “green” model.
However, according to critics like Stevan Harnad, professor of electronics and computer science at Southampton University, “the government was facing an expensive bill in supporting gold open access over the green open access model… “The Finch committee’s recommendations look superficially as if they are supporting open access, but in reality they are strongly biased in favour of the interests of the publishing industry over the interests of UK research…”
Professor Harnad also notes in a post to liblicense that there has been support for “green” open access as “the UK research funding councils, RCUK, have re-confirmed their policy of mandating Green OA:
“The new policy, which will apply to all qualifying publications being submitted for publication from 1 April 2013, states that peer reviewed research papers which result from research that is wholly or partially funded by the Research Councils… must be published in journals which are compliant with Research Council policy on Open Access.
“Criteria which journals must fulfill to be compliant with the Research Councils’ Open Access policy are detailed within the policy, but include offering a “pay to publish” option or allowing deposit in a subject or institutional repository after a mandated maximum embargo period…”
Where do you stand on the issue? Is “gold” open access necessary to provide the financial resources to make open access a reality? Are taxpayers who have paid for the research entitled to the free access that “green” open access promises? Is there a hybrid model that preserves the positive elements of both “gold” and “green” models? Where does peer review and quality assurance fit in to all of this?