In his Top Ten Publishing Predictions for 2012, our CEO, George Lossius, said this would be the year when the Open Access debate got really interesting. And it certainly has. The debate surrounding the recently published Research Works Act has come hot on the heels of the furore surrounding SOPA and PIPA, which grabbed headlines last month.
All this means that there's currently an abundance of passionate and urgent debate on the principles behind access and availability of scholarly research. We've selected a few of the best articles we've found on the subject for readers who want to catch up or read more widely around the issue. We hope you find them useful and please let us know your thoughts in the comment box below.
Publishers' Weekly - Academic E-Books: Innovation and Transition (by Peter Brantley)
In this detailed and closely argued plea for alternative access to monographs as well as journals, Peter sets out his opposition to the Research Works Act and suggests SCOAP3 as a model for the sector. We're planning to blog on this topic next week, so watch this space.
Scholarly Kitchen - Mysteries of the Boycott (by Rick Anderson)
As with many articles on Scholarly Kitchen, Rick's piece is worth reading as much for the informed debate in the comments below as the insight above it (which is considerable). Here, Rick defends Elsevier, arguing that it may be being singled more for its size than its behaviour.
STM Publishing - Publishers support sustainable open access
Over 30 STM publishers publicly sign up to a statement supporting open access to ensure the"integrity and permanence of the scholarly record". An impressive list of publishers have already signed up.
Science in the Open - The Research Works Act and the breakdown of mutual incomprehension (by Cameron Neylon)
Another detailed and informed summation of the Research Works Act debate, offering some great insights into how either side views on another's position, and asking whether funders will eventually make it all seem irrelevant.
The Economist - The Price of Information
The Economist weighs in on the argument. Its principle contribution, however, seems to have been to dub the boycott "The Academic Spring". We'll see if the soubriquet takes off...
The Independent - The Future of Publishing
Mike Taylor, a palaeontologist and open access advocate uses the Research Works Act as a starting point for a wider discussion on the future of scholarly publishing.
Open and Shut Blog -Elsevier’s Alicia Wise on the RWA, the West Wing, and Universal Access (by Richard Poynder)
In another detailed and closely argued post, Richard publishes the content of an email interview given by Alicia Wise of Elsevier where she admits that open access is here to stay. A long read, but very worthwhile.