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Jimmy Wales Backs UK Government Bid To Free Academic Data 55

judgecorp writes "Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales is helping a UK government bid to make the results of Government funded research available freely online. The move taps into a popular protest at the restrictions which academic publishers place on the availability of research. From the article: 'Almost 11,000 researchers have signed up to a boycott of journals owned by the huge academic publisher Elsevier. Subscriptions to the thousands of research journals can cost a big university library millions of pounds each year – costs that have started to bite as budgets are squeezed. Harvard University, frustrated by the rising costs of journal subscriptions, recently encouraged its faculty members to make their research freely available through open access journals and to resign from publications that keep articles behind paywalls.'"
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Jimmy Wales Backs UK Government Bid To Free Academic Data

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  • by fantomas ( 94850 ) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @06:01AM (#39876867)

    But research funding in UK universities - given to them by the government - is to a large part determined by the researchers and academics recent publishing record in high impact journals, i.e. those run by people like Elsevier. The government analysis of how well your university research departments are performing (and therefore how much money they will give you in the next round of funding) is dependent on you showing you've published lots of journal articles in hiigh impact journals.

    You can publish all you want in open educational archives but until these are considered high impact and valued by the government, then academics will continue to have to deal with the paid for journals. The government needs to make sure that as well as promoting open access of government research - which will be great - that they also acknowledge the value of research being presented in open access archives.

    I'd really prefer to publish all my work in open access archives but I know that if I want to look good in my university and make my cv look good for when I have to look for the next fixed term contract, then I need to be publishing in the paid for journals. This is slowly starting to change, but it would be great if the government made a much stronger formal recognition of the value of open resources with respect to funding criteria.

  • Re:rising costs (Score:4, Informative)

    by dkf ( 304284 ) <> on Thursday May 03, 2012 @06:26AM (#39876919) Homepage

    Shift fees from the University budget (i.e. library) of subscribing for journals unto the researchers and labs paying the open access publication fees from their own research budgets (we're talking thousands of dollars per publication here).

    It has to be budgeted for. It has to be beaten into funding agencies heads that this is a shift of where costs are being borne with an aim to deliver better results to the general public overall. This "beating into heads" is what is happening now.

    Alas, costs at research institutes rise in the transition period because of the need to keep access to paywalled stuff for the time being. There's really no way to avoid that while remaining competitive, but it should reduce general overheads eventually. (Yeah, "should"...)

Doubt isn't the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith. - Paul Tillich, German theologian and historian