Open must be affordable

April 3, 2014

We are grateful to members of the web community, including Peter Murray-Rust (“Blogger set on smoothing road to open access”, News, March), who are working hard to enrich the data on open access publishing and to highlight current problems.

At the Wellcome Trust, we recognise that subscription-based publishers are still developing their systems to accommodate the open access business model, and we urge them to make these changes as quickly as possible. Although there are only a small number of articles that the Wellcome Trust has paid to be open access that have remained behind a paywall, this is never an acceptable situation.

The bigger issue, however, concerns the high cost of hybrid open access publishing. The average article processing charge in a hybrid journal was found to be almost twice that for a born-digital, fully open access journal ($2,7, compared with $1,418). We need to find ways of balancing this by working with others to encourage the development of a transparent, competitive and affordable market in article pricing charges.

Robert Kiley
Head of digital services
Wellcome Trust

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