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Funders should be providing open access, not buying it

By founding their own journals, UK research funders would avoid the problems of existing open-access models, argues Thom Brooks.

Journal subscriptions are eye-wateringly expensive; library budgets are tight; the public should have free access to the research it supports. The issues around academic publishing, and open access in particular, are well known and intensely debated.

The UK government’s preferred solution, based on the Finch report, comes at a price. A price of £571 per paper. This assumes that the £60 million annual bill for gold open access estimated by Finch—of which £40m is for author publication charges—is correct. Gold open access has the benefit of making publicly funded research accessible to all, but the major drawback is that publishers’ costs would simply be transferred from library budgets to research funders.

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