[Ip-health] Wellcome Trust backs open access

Ira Glazer ira.glazer at gmail.com
Mon Apr 9 14:14:58 PDT 2012


One of the world's largest funders of science is to throw its weight behind
a growing campaign to break the stranglehold of academic journals and allow
all research papers to be shared online.

Nearly 9,000 researchers have already signed up to a boycott of journals
that restrict free sharing as part of a campaign dubbed the "academic
spring" by supporters due to its potential for revolutionising the spread
of knowledge.

But the intervention of the Wellcome Trust, the largest non-governmental
funder of medical research after the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is
likely to galvanise the movement by forcing academics it funds to publish
in open online journals.

Sir Mark Walport, the director of Wellcome Trust, said that his
organisation is in the final stages of launching a high calibre scientific
journal called eLife that would compete directly with top-tier publications
such as Nature and Science, seen by scientists as the premier locations for
publishing. Unlike traditional journals, however, which cost British
universities hundreds of millions of pounds a year to access, articles in
eLife will be free to view on the web as soon as they are published.

He also said that the Wellcome Trust, which spends more than £600m on
scientific research a year, would soon adopt a more robust approach with
the scientists it funds, to ensure that results are freely available to the
public within six months of first publication.

Researchers who do not make their work open access in line with the Trust's
policy could be sanctioned in future grant applications to the charity.

Walport, who is a fellow of the Royal Society, Britain's premier scientific
academy, said the results of public and charity-funded scientific research
should be freely available to anyone who wants to read it, for whatever
purpose they need it....

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