Open access agreements: revolutionary development

Open access publishing is gaining ground. The debate on free availability of scientific knowledge is becoming important in the academic networking community. Publishing scientific content, free of any financial or copyright barriers between the readers and the article, is now seriously competing with the once dominant status of established journals behind the wall of passwords and subscriptions.

caption Professor Levi (AMC)

Many publishers offer possibilities for authors to publish ‘open access’ now and communities of young researchers make their point by organizing events like ‘The Open Access Week’ (October 2015). The publisher of European Child + Adolescent Psychiatry (ECAP), Springer, provides a possibility for authors to publish open access for several years already. The ‘Open Choice’ programme allows authors to publish open access in the majority of Springer's subscription-based journals. This model is widely used and accepted by the authors, as shown by the number of open access articles already published in ECAP. View all ECAP open access articles.

Biomed Central
Also – for academic and research institutions that want to save publication costs – the science, technology and medicine publisher BioMed Central collaborates with Springer Open on the development of an open access membership programme. Springer and BioMed Central currently have over 480 institutional open access membership agreements in more than fifty countries. 

Public money
Springer’s initiatives follow the international debate on open source scientific publishing. Several European governments – in Scandinavia, France, Germany, England, the Netherlands and other – strive for free access of all scientific publications within ten years from now. The Dutch minister of Education & Science, Sander Dekker, said in De Volkskrant’s 19 October 2015 edition: “Today’s principal argument still concerns that the knowledge and the editorial effort is being paid from public money, while publishers are making big profits out of it. Society has a right to access that knowledge. And the alternative solution is so obvious.” Dekker says: “The agreements that we have with Springer are a good example – it allows access to scientific journals and articles by Dutch authors are being made open access. I dare to call this a revolutionary development.” The scientific publishers at Springer are more restrained in their optimism – they are in negotiation with several other countries and constitutions, and expect that “this news will be even more interesting as soon as more countries are participating in this model”, a Springer spokesman comments.

“Availability is crucial”
Professor Johannes Hebebrand, editor-in-chief of the ECAP journal, welcomes these developments. “It is crucial that publications on child and adolescent psychiatric research are widely available; mental health issues are pertinent in countries that do not have a strong academic basis. As such the initiatives of Springer represent a true step forward in making research results available throughout the world”, Hebebrand says.

View The Guardian’s dossier on open access scientific publishing.
Frequently asked questions on open access, composed by the Dutch Universities (pdf, 3 pages, January 2015) and other negotiations (pdf, 2 pages, July 2015).
Quality Open Access Market for authors.

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