Open Access to Scientific and Technical Information
State of the Art and Future Trends
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This publication states not only different viewpoints on the subject of Open Access, but also explores matters which are cogent to the subject, for example questions concerning the effect of OA on the quality of scientific reporting and the peer review process, or the use of publications as a measure of research effectiveness and also issues relating to medium and long term identification and preservation of STI in the age of OA. There are robust opinions on the role of (commercial) publishers in STI, but those who might be considered to be at the focus of the issues on both sides discussed the situation in an atmosphere of constructive dialogue. This would seem to indicate that OA has moved beyond an ‘enthusiast’ or advocational status towards a situation where the possibilities of changing the mould of STI publishing are now being considered seriously. Perhaps the most significant development is the policy of publishers, both commercial and not for profit, to make available free access to their publications a short period after their original publication. This has important implications for scientists in the developing world, where access to electronic versions of papers is already a problem due to a lack of infrastructure but also because the cost of subscription to journals is beyond the means of many. While the movement does not deal with the problem absolutely, developing world scientists are still excluded from immediate access, it is a step in the right direction.