Wellcome Trust, one of the largest research charities in the world, has announced its plan to launch a free open-access academic journal. The organisation will also more strictly enforce its requirements that scientists it funds allow open access to the published study within six months after publication. The move is the latest in a protest against academic journals that charge for access to their publications. Thousands of scientists have joined the “Academic Spring” movement by promising to boycott Elsevier, the world’s largest publisher of scientific journals.
The protest has been brewing for years as scientists become increasingly critical of the traditional peer-reviewed journal process that charges them to publish their work, but doesn’t give them access to even their own published articles without a paid subscription. According to an article on The Guardian, UK universities are charged hundreds of millions of pounds a year for subscriptions to such journals. Meanwhile, tax payers continue to fund research they have to pay high prices to access. Options are available in the form of open-access peer-review journals, as well as various social media sites for scientists, as medtechinsider previously has covered.
However, a true revolution of academic publishing will only come when the publication of a scientific paper in an old-fashioned peer-reviewed journal is not seen such an important measure of credentials as it is today, writes Martin Paul Eve, doctoral researcher at the University of Sussex, in a blog post on the Guardian. The academic community needs to look for solutions not only in the publishing world, but also within their own institutions.Camilla Andersson