I said the open access debate had been torrid. And it continues apace in the wake of last week’s announcements from the UK government and RCUK, the organisation that represents the common interests of Britain’s Research Councils.
This week at the Guardian, Paul Ayris, the director of library services at University College London, has taken a rather dim view of the UK’s new-found enthusiasm for the gold model of open access (in which the author pays up front for immediate access with minimal restrictions on reuse), whereas I have tried to be more sanguine. Some would say ‘idiotic’ but that’s the Guardian comment thread for you (actually rather tame in this instance).
The key point for the moment is that, despite the announcements, nothing has been fixed in stone, so now is an ideal opportunity to work out how we shape the implementation. Much has been left for research institutions to decide for themselves. There is a fairly robust discussion going on underneath my Guardian piece. I think it’s important that we have these arguments — and that as many stakeholders as possible are involved, if only to prepare themselves for discussion within their own institutions. I don’t claim any special knowledge and have found the debate (over the course of these past few months) very illuminating. I invite you to join in.
And as if that were not enough, have a look also at Cameron Neylon’s thoughtful post on how to resolve the particular challenges of OA to learned societies who rely heavily on subscription income that now appears to be under threat.
Finally, while I’m linking to things, there are fine pieces on open access in the Telegraph (by Mark Henderson) and the Economist; and two divergent opinions in the letters page of last week’s Nature (PDF; paywall).