During the past few months thousands of academics who support open access to research have been boycotting the Dutch publisher Elsevier. The movement, originally referred to as Academic Spring, continued into the summer. Over 12,000 academics are now boycotting Elsevier because of their high subscription fees, often paid by the same universities where the authors of the articles are conducting their research.
On Monday, the UK government announced a plan to require that publicly funded research is freely available online. The next day, the European Commission made a similar announcement regarding research funded by the €80 billion Horizon 2020 programme for research and innovation.
The UK plan falls short of providing funding for the initiative, essentially shifting the burden from the reader to the writer. Most peer-reviewed journals that don’t charge for access to their content instead charge authors an article processing charge (APC) for publication.
So far, the European Commission’s plan is only a proposal, but the program, if implemented, would provide funding for fees such as APC. Researchers who instead choose to publish a study in a traditional journal that charges for access would need to also publish the article through an open-access repository less than six months afterwards.Camilla Andersson