Australia’s chief science research agency, the CSIRO, has announced it will remove paywalls and allow unrestricted public access to its research in a bold embrace of Open Access principles.
While it is expected to take several years to extend Open Access provisions to the bulk of its research output, the agency said it has already confirmed ‘read and publish’ agreements with several notable publishers.
So far, agreements have been confirmed with the American Institute of Physics, Company of Biologists, Elsevier, Microbiology Society, Royal Society, and Royal Society of Chemistry.
Previously, readers were required to pay journals to access the agency’s published research.
The move to Open Access is, the researcher said, a bid to “democratise science by ensuring research is available to everyone, not just those with journal subscriptions”.
Its editorially independent publishing business, CSIRO Publishing, will also support Open Access provisions.
Authors will be able to choose which Open Access model they prefer when publishing their work with CSIRO. These models include Gold Open Access and Green Open Access.
Gold Open Access articles may be viewed by anyone with internet access without the need for a current subscription.
The agency confirmed that all Open Access articles will undergo the same peer-review process as those published under a subscription model.
CSIRO acting chief scientist, Dr Sarah Pearce, said the move will remove barriers to access and expand the reach of CSIRO’s scientific research, whilst also protecting “scientific integrity” by maintaining high standards of peer review and adhering to strict publishing practices.
“At a time when people around the world are turning to science for answers, we’re proud to be making more and more of our published research openly available,” Dr Pearce said.
Elsevier executive vice president, Gino Ussi, publisher of Science Direct, said the company will support CSIRO in advancing their Open Access initiative.
“We thank CSIRO for the collaborative approach they have taken to our discussions and look forward to fulfilling our commitment to enable open and frictionless access to scientific knowledge”, Ussi said.
CSIRO chief information and data officer, Brendan Dalton, encouraged other research institutions to join the Open Access movement, which he said encourages knowledge sharing “across borders, across industries, and across communities” – a move that will serve “to stimulate innovation, deliver social benefits, and drive economic prosperity”.