Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Getting Closer to Open Access?

While reading C&EN today, an advertisement promoting the ACS AuthorChoice free access option caught my eye. Maybe I am just a little behind the times, but I didn't actually know that something like this existed (and looking at the release date, it has been around almost a year). Basically, in exchange for a fixed fee (ranging from $1,000 to $3,000, paid by the author(s) or their funding agencies), the ACS allows unrestricted internet access to an author's article published in an ACS journal. This is different than the ACS Articles on Request policy which I had previously heard about; through this FREE policy, the ACS gives authors a URL that they can email out to colleagues. In this way authors can distribute up to 50 free copies of their published work, and after 12 months access to articles is unrestricted through this unique URL. Of course, Wiley journals have a similar policy (with a similar price, but limited to only the biomedical journals) called Wiley Funded Access Service.

Looking at the list of published ACS AuthorChoice Articles, I was slightly surprised to see that only 24 papers have been published in this way. Apparently the fee, while not too hefty in my opinion, prevents most authors from choosing this option. Hopefully with time, we will see more open access articles available through programs like ACS AuthorChoice and Wiley Funded Access Service. Although I like the idea of peer-reviewed open access and hope that it becomes the wave of the future, something in me says that it will be a long journey...

On a related note, these posts at In the Pipeline and Chemistry Central
discuss the important role that open access journal articles play for those in the field with no literature subscription (such as the retired on unemployed).


Christoph said...

I think the low number of publications under this license is partly caused by the fact that grant money cannot be used to pay for publication costs. If some of the grant was dedicated to cover such costs, more people might be willing to pay for free access.

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