|One of the world's largest research charities, the Wellcome Trust, is to
support efforts by scientists to make their work freely available for
all. The Trust is to establish a free, online publication to compete
with established academic journals. They say their new title could be a
'game changer' forcing other publishing houses to increase free access.
The trust's move is the latest salvo in a battle about ownership of, and
access to, the published work of scientists that has been simmering
underneath the sedate surface of scientific research for years.
The majority of the world's scientific journals are accessible only via
subscription, including highly influential titles such as Nature,
Science and the New England Journal of Medicine. Others, such as the
Public Library of Science stable, can be read by anybody. The cost of
publication falls on the scientists or their institutions.
Many researchers want their work to be freely available to all as they
believe this will speed up discoveries. They also argue it is unfair
that publicly funded research should only be accessible behind the
paywalls of private publishing houses. Later this year, the Wellcome
Trust will launch an online open access journal called eLife that will
compete with the paid-for heavyweights.