Promoting Open Access to research: an Institutional Repository for Leeds Metropolitan University

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Sheppard, NE (2009)

The scientific journal as we know it today can be traced back to Henry Oldenburg who created the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London (Phil Trans) in 1665 and: “understood that if only he could attract the majority of Europe’s significant scientific authors to register their discoveries in the Phil Trans, his innovative use of print technology would become a defining moment of the European scientific movement.” (Guédon, 2001) So was born a paradigm that lasted for more than 300 years. Modern scholarly journals, like their venerable forbear, do not pay authors for their articles and the majority of scholars publish their research in peer-reviewed journals not for financial, but for professional gain (Yiotis, 2005). However, the “system of scholarly communication that has existed for hundreds of years” described by Yiotis evolved in the age of print at a time when scholarly output was relatively small. As the number of universities and associated research output increased in the 19th and 20th centuries, commercial publishers became interested in a market with an established creative source and pattern of consumption. Consequently, in the 1970s journal prices began to rise faster than inflation, having a negative impact on serials collections in libraries who could afford to subscribe to fewer and fewer of the expensive journals; the so-called “serials pricing crisis” (Guédon, 2001). The unsustainable price rises of traditionally published journals coincided with the emergence of the internet and in 1990 Stevan Harnad introduced Psycoloquy, the first peer-reviewed scientific journal on the internet, which paved the way for free academic publishing on the web after 1993. Open Access, which had been “physically and economically impossible in the age of print, even if the copyright holder wanted it” (Suber, n.d.), was now possible.
  • References (1)

    Budapest Open Access Initiative (2002) Available at: http://www.soros.org/openaccess/read.shtml [Accessed 1 May 2008] Chan, L., Kirsop, B., and Arunachalam, S. (2005) Open Access Archiving: the fast track to building research capacity in developing countries. Available at: http://openmed.nic.in/1134/ [Accessed 1 May 2008]

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