Finch Report: AIP Sees Value in Encouraging
Stakeholder Collaboration in Publishing
College Park, Md. — The American Institute of Physics (AIP) welcomes a new report, drafted by a distinguished group of U.K. scholarly publishing stakeholders, which seeks to achieve wider and more open public access to peer-reviewed publications.
This report, Accessibility, sustainability, excellence: how to expand access to research publications, released on June 19, is the product of a year’s work by a committed and knowledgeable group of individuals drawn from academia, research funders, and publishing.
The report committee, led by Dame Janet Finch, recognizes the costs involved with scholarly publishing, the need for data linkages, the value of peer review, the importance of archiving, and the significance of enabling innovation within the industry.
The report also identifies the complex nature of scholarly publishing, and accurately captures the interests of the stakeholders, which include universities, funders, publishers, and researchers.
“This report contains a thoughtful and careful analysis of the system of scholarly publishing,” said Frederick Dylla, executive director and CEO of AIP. “It identifies the need for action from all the stakeholders.” The report specifically recognizes that “all the key stakeholders in the UK can work together to develop an agreed upon approach; and that collectively they can take a lead internationally, and help to shape the debate and the direction of policy.”
AIP acknowledges that the Finch report’s key recommendation is to manage and accelerate a shift toward public access through government policies that encourage publication in open-access or hybrid journals.
AIP, however, believes the most appropriate role for the government is to encourage partnerships among federal agencies, publishers, and research institutions. Examples of these partnerships have arisen as a direct result of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-358).
Within the United States, the America COMPETES Act requires federal agencies that fund scientific research to develop policies to improve access to and interoperability among databases, and to improve archiving of data and publications derived from public funding. Indeed, recent collaborative efforts — initiated by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and involving scientific societies and publishers, the Department of Energy, and the National Science Foundation — have made significant progress toward these goals.
“In the United States, we have seen creative and thoughtful discussions that have been spurred by the America COMPETES framework, organic market forces, and collaborative efforts already underway among stakeholders,” said Dylla. “These have resulted in a pragmatic and productive route to success in broadening public access to all the products of scholarly research.”
The Finch report states that a mixed economy of subscriptions, licensing, open access, repositories, and pay-per-view will exist for the foreseeable future. AIP believes that the mission of providing access will be best served by embracing this diversity and encouraging the stakeholders to work collaboratively toward the broadest possible dissemination. It is AIP’s belief that the governments should support and encourage access to scholarly publications via mutually beneficial partnerships with publishers, which would contribute to the economy and maximize the productivity of the scientific enterprise.
The report can be accessed at http://www.researchinfonet.org/publish/finch.
About American Institute of Physics
The American Institute of Physics (AIP) is an organization of 10 physical science societies, representing more than 135,000 scientists, engineers, and educators. As one of the world's largest publishers of scientific information in physics, AIP employs innovative publishing technologies and offers publishing services for its Member Societies. AIP's suite of publications includes 15 journals, three of which are published in partnership with other organizations; magazines, including its flagship publication Physics Today; and the AIP Conference Proceedings series. Through its Physics Resources Center, AIP also delivers valuable services and expertise in education and student programs, science communications, government relations, career services for science and engineering professionals, statistical research, industrial outreach, and the history of physics and other sciences.