'It's good that funding bodies are forcing change'

November 5, 2004

Ronald Milne, the acting director of library services at the Oxford University and the man responsible for trying to juggle increasingly expensive journal subscriptions and a shrinking budget, is "acutely aware" of the need for free, open-access publishing.

"For many years journal subscription (costs) have been increasing well ahead of inflation," he said. "Libraries have been complaining about price rises for years."

Having watched other countries pushing forward the open-access movement, Mr Milne is relieved that the Wellcome Trust is taking the lead on it in the UK.

"It is fantastic that funding bodies are taking such a hard line. I would imagine that in five years' time the model of scholarly communication in science and medicine will have changed significantly," he said.

Mr Milne said that providing greater access to research for scientists in developing countries was also vital. "We find it hard enough to afford journals, so universities in developing countries must be very hard pushed."

Nonetheless, he admitted that in many areas commercial publishers controlled the market. "Where academics publish is so important - because of prestige and perhaps even their research assessment exercise rating - that they are loath to publish elsewhere."

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