Open Access Publishing and Citation Archives: Background and Controversy [December 26, 2005]   [open pdf - 228KB]

"Controversies about open access publishing and archiving in science and technology confront issues of copyright, governmental competition with the private sector, and impacts upon the pace of scientific research. Traditional publishers typically charge subscriber fees, which fund some of the costs of publishing and distribution of hard-copy and/or online journals. In contrast, most open access systems typically charge authors publication fees and give readers free online access to the full text of published and non-published articles or to bibliographic citations. Some systems give access to information in specific scientific and technical fields, or at academic institutions, academic consortiums' websites, or on authors' websites. Open access publishing is estimated to constitute between 1% and 2% of the scientific journal publishing market, which is estimated at $9 billion, annually. Support for the open access "movement" stems from some librarians' and scientists' objections to rising costs of journal subscriptions; peer reviewers' reluctance to provide free reviews for journals rapidly escalating in price; rapid technological developments in computing capabilities; and the belief that scientific collaboration, advancement, and utilization will be hastened by free access to citations and articles. […] Controversial issues include modifying NIH's [National Institutes of Health] 'Public Access' policy to require that the government link to the original journal's website to read articles; limiting federal systems to scientific information developed using federal funds; monitoring the added costs of expanding 'PubMed Central'; determining if other agencies will use governmental nonexclusive licensing to allow access to commercially published journal articles regardless of copyright ownership; assessing the quality of science published in open access journals; and evaluating the economic impacts of open access publishing on traditional publishing. This report will be updated as needed."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL33023
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