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July 3, 2006
Volume 84, Number 27
p. 8


Evolving Access

Publishers experiment with immediate open access to articles if author pays

Sophie Rovner

Publishers are striving to find a viable business model to support free reader access to scholarly articles on the Web.


Britain's Royal Society, which already provides free access to its articles 12 months after publication, has launched a trial of immediate open access for its seven journals. Authors whose papers are accepted by these journals now have the option to pay the society $370 to $550 per page to make the articles free to nonsubscribers as soon as they are published online. The fees, which will be discounted in the trial's first year, are set at a level that will sustain the journals if all authors choose immediate open access and subscription revenue drops to zero.

Elsevier recently instituted an open-access trial that will eventually involve 36 of its journals. An author who wants all readers to have immediate free online access to a paper in one of these journals can pay the company a $3,000 fee.

The Public Library of Science (PLoS), which publishes six open-access journals, has just raised its author fees from $1,500 per article to $2,000-$2,500 to better reflect the cost of publication. Additional support for its journals is provided by grants, institutional memberships, and advertising.

In other news, PLoS is launching PLoS ONE, an open-access, online service that will publish "technically sound" research papers whether or not they meet the usual journal criteria of significant impact or interest. PLoS ONE will begin accepting papers in August.

Meanwhile, Research Councils UK has updated its position on access to research results. Beginning in October, three of RCUK's eight member councils, which are Britain's leading public funders of science, will require grant recipients to deposit their articles in open-access repositories.

Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
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