Keep science off web, says Royal Society
The Royal Society, Britain's national academy of science, yesterday joined the debate about so-called open access to scientific research, warning that making research freely available on the internet as it is published in scientific journals could harm scientific debate. The Royal Society fears it could lead to the demise of journals published by not-for-profit societies, which put out about a third of all journals. "Funders should remember that the primary aims should be to improve the exchange of knowledge between researchers and wider society," The Royal Society said....Open access proponents said the Royal Society position statement confuses open access publishing...with author self-archiving. The latter, which has already been carried out in some disciplines for years, relies on academics publishing on the internet articles that have been accepted by journals. A spokesman for the Royal Society said: "We think it conceivable that the journals in some disciplines might suffer. Why would you pay to subscribe to a journal if the papers appear free of charge?" PS: Does the RS want "to improve the exchange of knowledge between researchers and wider society" or does it want to subordinate this improvement to the financial interests of the publishing industry? ..."
"David Dickson, Open access deemed 'dangerous' by Royal Society, SciDev.Net, November 24, 2005. Excerpt:
The world's oldest scientific society has warned that the spread of open access journals — as well as open archiving — could have a "disastrous" impact on scientific publishing, possibly forcing some peer-reviewed journals to close. Proponents of open access deny this claim, saying there is no evidence to support such alarmist statements, and that its authors have confused various strands of the open access debate."
Source: P.Suber. More on the Royal Society statement OANews Blog (25 Nov 2005) [FullText]; More on the Royal Society statement (24 Nov 2005) [FullText]