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‘Gold for Gold’ scheme will support Open Access move

The Royal Society of Chemistry has unveiled a £1 million scheme to help smooth the transition to a Gold open access system for disseminating the results of publicly-funded research.

The ‘Gold for Gold’ initiative will provide benefits for academic institutions that are subscribers to RSC Gold, a collection of 37 international journals, databases and magazines offering online access to all published material.

RSC Gold customers will receive credit on future publication fees equal to the subscription paid. This will enable their researchers, who are being asked to publish open access but often do not have funding to pay for it directly, to make their papers available via Open Science, the RSC’s Gold OA option. About 50 UK institutions are RSC Gold customers.

James Milne, managing director of the society’s publishing operations, said, “The RSC is delighted to announce this innovative experiment to help researchers make their articles Open Access during a period when funding to support this model is still relatively unclear.

“We anticipate this initiative will equate to the RSC donating more than one million pounds worth of Gold Open Access article processing fees to the UK research community by the end of the year,” he added.

The scheme will support researchers during the period before the block grants intended to fund the Gold OA system become available from Research Councils UK next April.

The society believes that the scheme will be welcomed by institutions concerned over the problems likely to be faced during the transition to a new model in scientific publishing. It quotes Lesley Gray, journals co-ordinator scheme manager from the University of Cambridge, as saying, “This initiative by the RSC is welcomed, and will serve to promote Open Access publishing to researchers.”

Lorraine Estelle, chief executive of JISC, which is promoting innovative uses of digital technology in UK universities, welcomed the scheme. It “demonstrates the society’s engagement with the chemical science community and recent Open Access developments,” she said.