Haggling over the cost of gold (2 of 2)

July 5, 2012

I fear that if we move to the gold open-access model, it will be disproportionately harmful to researchers outside large groups and to more junior members of staff who are less able to afford the publication fees.

While some areas of science seem to be dominated by vast, expensive projects, some papers still come from small groups or even individuals. I suspect that Thomas Kuhn was right in saying that outsiders are often responsible for "paradigm shifts". Sadly, they may be the ones least able to afford the fees required to publish under the gold model, as they may be operating on tight budgets.

The only barrier to publication should be the quality of papers, not the ability to pay.

And what about the "Friday afternoon" experiment - the kind of creative test that was never envisaged when the grant was applied for but was thought up later? Unless the funding bodies earmark cash for the publication of "Friday afternoon" specials, I see a grim future where these original thoughts are not published - a future where cash-strapped principal investigators even ration their postdocs and PhD students to a set number of papers.

Mark R. StJ. Foreman, Associate professor, Nuclear chemistry/industrial materials recycling, Chalmers University of Technology

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