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[Manifesto] Nature article on BOAI (Stevan Harnad) Marcia Tuttle 14 Feb 2002 13:17 UTC

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Date: Thu, 14 Feb 2002 12:12:40 +0000
From: Stevan Harnad <harnad@COGPRINTS.SOTON.AC.UK>
Subject: [Manifesto] Nature article on BOAI

Nature 415, 721 (2002)

Soros offers open access to science papers

George Soros, the Hungarian-born financier and philanthropist, is backing a
new effort to provide free and unrestricted access to scientific and other
academic literature.

Soros's Open Society Institute (OSI) will launch the new initiative in
Budapest on 14 February, pledging US$3 million in grants over three years to
support free electronic article repositories and 'alternative' journals
committed to open access.

Peter Suber, a philosopher at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, and one
of the architects of the 'Budapest Open Archive Initiative', says that this
sum will go a long way. He notes that electronic repositories are not
expensive to set up, and that the open-source software required to run such
repositories is already freely available on the Internet.

But Suber and others involved in the initiative concede that further funding
will ultimately be required, and that their broader aim is to create a
"domino effect" by convincing other funders and research institutions to
become involved.

The initiative is publicly supported by around 300 individuals, including
the provosts of the California Institute of Technology and the University of
Kansas. The 20 organizations listed as supporters include the Public Library
of Science, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the
University of Missouri-Columbia.

The initiative shares some of its objectives with the Public Library of
Science, which last year sought to organize a researchers' boycott of
journals that refused to cooperate with its campaign for free access to
scientific literature. But instead of seeking to influence publishers, the
Budapest initiative will attempt to win support for open-access publishing
from within the academic community.

Research institutions and funding agencies that sign up commit themselves to
making policy changes, such as creating local open-access electronic
repositories, and making it compulsory for grant recipients to deposit their
papers there. Individual signatories agree to deposit their research in
freely available electronic repositories, and to support alternative
journals as authors, editors and referees.

"Only time will tell if the impact of the OSI will be large or small," says
Suber. "We only need enough money to change the business model of enough
scholarly resources to give momentum to this better way. The money already
in the system is more than enough to pay for open access," he adds.