And look at what's happening in the High Energy Physics field with the SCOAP3 project! Imagine a world where libraries could band together to pay publishers to make their journals all Open Access. It's almost a utopian dream.
Ah yes, a utopian dream. So, here's the story in a nutshell: The HEP field is fairly small, with only a handful of core journals (at both commercial and society publishers) and another handful of journals that publish some HEP content. There's already a great tradition of open access using, for example, the arXiv repository. But, the journals in the field and still valued for their peer review/gatekeeping function. But how to get all the peer reviewed content freely available to everyone?
The SCOAP3 idea is for all the libraries and institutions that subscribe to the journals to band together and form their own consortium. That way, all the money can be collected and negotiations can be started with publishers for the best price. Aha! Here's the trick. Instead of all those subscribers paying their money for exclusive access to the publisher's content, they would use that money to pay for open access for everyone to the content. Basically, all the same funders pay more-or-less the same money to the same publishers but instead of for their own good, it's for the common good.
Now, there's a lot more to the details of this and the best source is the SCOAP3 website itself.
Some more info from other sources:
- Audacity of SCOAP3 by Ivy Anderson (ARL Bimonthly Report)
- Report of the SCOAP3 Working Party
- Slides and Videos from the U.S. Focal meeting, February 29th, 2008 (I'm linking to the YouTube videos. Higher quality available at the link)
- Welcome & Opening Address
- What is Open Access, anyhow (Rick Luce, Emory University)
- The SCOAP3 model (Salvatore Mele, CERN)
- Fund-raising in Europe (Jens Vigen, CERN)
- SCOAP3: Expectations of a large research institution (Ralf Schimmer, Max Planck Digital Library)
- US consortia in SCOAP3 (Ivy Anderson, California Digital Library)
- Individual US libraries and SCOAP3 - I (Miriam Blake, Los Alamos National Laboratory)
- Individual US libraries and SCOAP3 - II (Kimberly Douglas, Caltech)
- OA synergies: Repositories for High-Energy Physics (Travis Brooks, Stanford Linear Accelerator Center)
- Welcome & Opening Address
CERN is one the driving forces behind SCOAP3 and in general they've had really good success in Europe. They're also beginning to make real headway among US libraries. Check out who's involved.
For whatever reason, Canada isn't on board yet. I don't know why. If you're reading this and you're a Canadian science (esp. physics) librarian, bring it up to your administration or to your consortium. Talk about it, explain why it's so important to look to the future of scholarly publishing, to look beyond locking us in to the whims of the commercial publishers. At the Open Access session hosted here at York this past Wednesday, one of the speakers bought up SCOAP3 and wondered aloud why Canada wasn't involved. I wished I had an answer for him.