Funding bodies stump up cash in open access agreement

Three European funding agencies have signed an open access funding agreement with journal publisher Wiley-Blackwell.

September 24, 2011

Germany’s Max Planck Society, the Austrian Science Fund – the country’s central funder of basic research - and Italian charity Telethon, which funds research into genetic diseases, will pay the open access fees of researchers they fund when they publish a paper in one of Wiley-Blackwell’s 1,500 journals.

Like the UK’s Wellcome Trust, the Austrian and Italian bodies require articles reporting research they have funded to be made freely available online, and their agreement with Wiley-Blackwell relates to all of its 500 or so journals that have an open access option.

The agreement with the Max Planck Society applies only to the publisher’s fully open access journals.

Ralf Schimmer, head of scientific information provision at the Max Planck Digital Library, said the agreement was the next step in the society’s strategy to give “optimal financial and administrative support” for its researchers to find open access publishing options.

The Max Planck Society recently unveiled plans to launch an open access biomedical journal with the Wellcome Trust and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in the US. The journal, which will launch next year and aims to compete for the cream of research articles, will not charge any article fees – at least initially.

Falk Reckling, strategic analyst at the Austrian Science Fund, said the concept of open access publishing was widely accepted within the scientific community.

“Open access should not only be requested but should also be supported in practical ways by funding agencies. The [fund] regards the agreement as an incentive for publishers to expand their offer of open access journals,” he said.

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