Prof. Gerard Meijer of the Radboud University Supports Open Access

Open access (OA) movement has been growing and gathering momentum. The rate of growth and high profile support it is enjoying from those in academic arena is showing no sign of slowing down; at least in forseeable future. Radboud University president Prof. Gerard Meijer is one of those who are strongly advocating for open access. He showed his stern commitment to OA by dedicating his recent speech to OA on the university’s 91st anniversary. Besides scholars, some publishers are gradually embracing open access and joining the movement. Some do support OA because they do believe in the philosophy of OA. Others join the movement simply because they see OA is the inevitable future of publishing research output which cannot be ignored. For scholars and academic institutions the driving motive behind throwing their support behind OA largely stems from the very philosophy which defines OA: open exchange of knowledge leads to scientific and social development. Prof. Gerard Meijer believes that open access allows doctors to have new insights and companies use new knowledge that enables them innovate. Open access has similar impact on other sectors too.

Though OA is endorsed by many and its benefits are overwhelming, several publishers are still keeping scientific articles behind pay-wall. Those who can afford to pay subscription fee can get access and other denied access. However, ever increasing cost of journal subscription, according to the president, has forced several prominent academic institutions to cancel their subscription. Publishers in the industry, the status quo is primarily serving their interest, have remained reluctant to embrace open access, nevertheless.

Prof. Meijer suggests that OA can be achieved through different approaches. One way is through building OA institutional repositories; Radboud University is exactly doing that. Currently 23% of the university’s researches output published since 2004 are archived in the university’s repository. The other channel is through Gold open access approach. Currently Radboud University spends more than 5 million on journal subscription on annual basis. For Radboud University covering article processing cost is not only an initiative to support Gold OA but also it’s a measure to save on subscription budget, according to the president.It’s financially sound to cover articles processing fees than subscribing to costly journals, he finds.

According to the president the publishers are undoubtedly happy with the status quo. Academic institutions and others who subscribe to scholarly journals are not so pleased. Prof Meijer is convinced that there is a need to find middle ground and a sustainable model which works for all stakeholders.

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