Where Does the Free Online Scholarship Movement Stand Today?

There’s a lot happening these days to create free online access to peer-reviewed scientific and scholarly journal articles. Here are some of the more significant trends:

More disciplines are setting up preprint archives.
More open-access peer-reviewed journals are popping up in every field. Most of these are online-only. But journals like BMJ [British Medical Journal] and Cortex show that even the costs of a print edition do not foreclose the possibility of free online access to full text.
More universities are supporting institutional self-archiving for their research faculty.
More priced journals are experimenting with ways to offer some online content free of charge, and experimenting with ways to cover the costs of providing this kind of free access.
Editorial “declarations of independence” against publishers who limit access by charging exorbitant subscription prices are becoming more common. See my list at . The most recent was last October, when 40 editors of Machine Learning issued a public letter explaining their resignation from the journal. One of the editors, Leslie Pack Kaelbling, then launched the Journal of Machine Learning Research, which MIT Press agreed to provide to readers free of charge.
More scholars are demanding that journals offer free online access to their contents. The Public Library of Science, , has collected more than 29,000 signatures from researchers in 175 countries in the six months since its launch.
More white papers, task forces, projects, and initiatives are endorsing the Open Archives Initiative. The two most recent are the International Scholarly Communications Alliance, , and the Budapest Open Access Initiative, .
More initiatives are acknowledging that progress requires the launch of new open-access journals. Both the Public Library of Science (PLoS) and the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI) have come to this conclusion.

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