As Open Access Week 2009 gets underway, the Wellcome Trust has called for greater transparency among publishers to counter the argument that access fees are being paid twice - once through subscriptions and again through publication fees.
The call comes as the Trust announces a further £2 million to fund open access publication fees for its researchers over the next 12 months. The funds are part of the ongoing commitment to ensuring that the results of all Trust-funded research are made freely available online.
Sir Mark Walport, Director of the Wellcome Trust, comments: "We are deeply committed to ensuring that research outputs are accessible to the widest possible audience. We are committing £2 million over the next year to support our researchers to make this happen and will be working closely with other funders, publishers and the research community towards this aim."
Since 2005, the Wellcome Trust has made it a condition of funding that researchers are required to make any Trust-funded publications available within six months through UK PubMed Central (UKPMC), the UK's life sciences online archive. The Trust will meet publication costs where the publisher agrees to make articles freely available through UKPMC at the time of publication and to license these works in a way that facilitates re-use, subject to proper attribution.
In recent months, however, concern has been expressed by the research community that publishers are using open access fees as an additional revenue stream without making a concerted effort to adapt their business models. In other words, access fees are being paid twice, through subscriptions and through publication fees.
"We would like to see a commitment from publishers to show the uptake of their open access option and to adjust their subscription rates to reflect increases in income from open access fees," says Sir Mark. "Some publishers, for example Oxford University Press, have already done this and we would like to see all publishers behave the same way."