reference searching tool, facilitates references to publications indexed by ISI
Web-of-Science, the division of Thomson that computes the very impact factors mentioned previously.
Over the years, commercial STM
publishing has become a cutthroat
business with cutthroat practices and
we, the scientific and academic community, are the naive lambs, blinded
by the ideals of science for the public
good—or simply in need of more publications to advance our careers.
Fortunately, a number of researchers and academic leaders woke up
one day and said: “We do not need
commercial publishers. We want the
results of our research, which is often funded by taxpayers’ money, to be
available for free to the public at large.
With the Internet, the costs of publishing are almost zero, and therefore we
can make this work.” And so was born
the white knight of STM publishing:
exponential increase in the scientific production in the medical (meD) and natural sciences
and engineering (nse) fields. the vertical scale is logarithmic. the number of published
articles for 2004 is about 500,000 and the number of references is about 10 million.
Data provided by Yves Gingras.
But the proponents of Open Access
quickly realized that online publishing
is not free, nor cheap. Management,
equipment, and access costs add up
quickly. For example, ACM spends several million dollars every year to support the reliable data center serving the
Digital Libraryb and to incorporate new
data, improve cross-references, and develop new services.
Since Open Access needs funding,
where can it come from?c An obvious
answer is advertising, but it is not a sus-
tainable option at least for now. A less
obvious answer, but one that is quickly
gaining momentum, is called author
charges (or publication fees): since
Open Access does not charge readers,
authors will pay to publish their works.
This should be painless for authors be-
cause they are also readers: it simply
transfers charges from subscriptions
to authorship. In fact, the proponents
of this model explicitly encourage re-
searchers to include author charges
in their budgets when they apply for
grants. The NIH explicitly supports
Open Access and accepts such costs.
b As an example, on Sept. 11, 2001, ACM was
prepared to switch to a backup database in
another location in the country to provide uninterrupted access to the Digital Library.
c See http://www.arl.org/sparc/publisher/in-comemodels/ for a fairly complete list.
d See http://www.plos.org/journals/pubfees.html
e Elsevier has admitted to creating fake journals
sponsored by pharmaceutical labs (see, for