Open Access publishing in physics gains momentum

The first meeting of European particle physics funding agencies took place on 3 November at CERN to establish a consortium for Open Access publishing in particle physics, SCOAP3 (Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics).

Open Access could transform the academic publishing world, with a great impact on research. The traditional model of research publication is funded through reader subscriptions. Open Access will turn this model on its head by changing the funding structure of research results, without increasing the overall cost of publishing. Instead of demanding payment from readers, publications will be distributed free of charge, financed by funding agencies via laboratories and the authors. This new concept will bring greater benefits and broaden opportunities for researchers and funding agencies by providing unrestricted distribution of the results of publicly funded research.

The meeting marked a positive step forward, with international support from laboratories, funding bodies, publishers and librarians. 'DESY fully supports open access publishing in particle physics and we would like to see it realised within a short time scale. It is of great importance that we are actively and constructively involved in these ongoing discussions aiming to establish a sponsoring consortium,' states Rolf-Dieter Heuer, Research Director at Germany's DESY laboratory. Further support came from the European Committee for Future Accelerators (ECFA), the French national institute for particle and nuclear physics (CNRS/IN2P3), Italy's national institute for nuclear physics (INFN), Germany's Max Planck Society, and delegates from a range of smaller CERN Member States. 'There is a wind of change blowing and with it the possibility to experiment with new models - in this CERN is perceived as the pioneer of a new publishing paradigm and the SCOAP initiative as a pilot project for future developments in scientific publishing,' says Peteris Zilgalvis of the European Commission.

An interim working party comprising physicists, librarians and legal experts from across Europe has been formed with the mandate to lay the foundations for SCOAP3 within the next few months. Mr. Maximilian Metzger, Secretary General, congratulated CERN staff on their efforts, 'I am proud of our staff members who have worked hard to make this meeting a reality. The support received for Open Access will bring about changes for the benefit of scientific research in a few years.'