Science Europe's open access statement

The Science Europe foundation is an association of European research organisations whose objective is to strengthen collaboration between national research organisations throughout Europe. The most important Finnish research funder, Academy of Finland which currently only "recommends" open access, is a member. I recently personally heard from the Academy director Heikki Mannila that the they will closely follow the Science Europe's decisions in future Academy policy-making.

Thus the recently announced "Science Europe Position Statement: Principles on the Transition to Open Access to Research Publications (April 2013)" is especially important for Finnish researchers. To quote from the document:

The benefits of Open Access are clear; furthermore, the technology available allows for a decisive move towards making Open Access a reality. The ultimate goal is to move to a new and sustainable system of scholarly communication of Open Access that guarantees the highest quality of publications and maximises the impact of research results. Science Europe Member Organisations acknowledge that the transition towards such a system presents challenges and that a common understanding of these challenges, and a collective approach to tackle them, is the most efficient way forward to accomplish the transition.

Open access advocate Ross Mounce warmly welcomed the statement on the The Open Knowledge Foundation blog, highlighting it's rejection of hybrid open access - a counterpoint to some arguments that have been put forward. It will be very interesting to see if the Academy will interpret the position as a nudge towards implementing an actual mandate for Academy-funded research.

A few further bits and pieces:

  • I only just now ran into Cites & Insights: Crawford at Large, which is a web-based journal that is covering open access developments in great detail. The latest issue includes recent arguments for and against CC-BY licensing, a very nuanced discussion on various facets of the green vs. gold debate, and several items on article processing charges, repositories, the latest policy developments, etc, giving a very frank evaluation of the positions of various open access advocates.
  • Ars Technica published a rundown of the latest open access news.
  • A recent Scientific American blog post argues that Elite journals are going to hell in a handbasket since their proportion of the most highly cited articles is diminishing. Although the data is certainly interesting (and, coincidentally, showing that the plethora of Nature-branded journals is working well for NPG), I'm not quite convinced this is a huge trend at least yet.
  • Finally, as interviewed for Deutche Welle, the editor-in-chief of Nature Medicine raises the doubt that scientists are less inclined to do tough experiments for open access journals. Although some such effect might be real (scientists being human and swayed also by non-scientific motivations as is well known), it's a bit doubtful whether this distinction has anything to do with open access per se. Furthermore, new mechanisms such as open peer review would likely have a big impact in this.