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April 9, 2012

Wellcome Joins In

Posted by Tom Leinster

I just looked at the front page of The Guardian, a quality British newspaper that’s especially widely read online… and I was amazed to see that their second-leading story was on The Cost of Knowledge:

The news is that the Wellcome Trust — which Wikipedia says is “the United Kingdom’s largest non-governmental source of funds for biomedical research”, and the Guardian says is “one of the world’s largest funders of science” — is throwing its weight behind the movement. Among other things:

Sir Mark Walport, the director of Wellcome Trust, said that his organisation is in the final stages of launching a high calibre scientific journal called eLife that would compete directly with top-tier publications such as Nature and Science, seen by scientists as the premier locations for publishing. Unlike traditional journals, however, which cost British universities hundreds of millions of pounds a year to access, articles in eLife will be free to view on the web as soon as they are published.

There’s also a story on how Tim Gowers (looking dashing as ever in front of ornate Cambridge architecture) started the current upsurge.

Posted at April 9, 2012 9:39 PM UTC

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Re: Wellcome Joins In

By the way, the word “Turst” in the image should be “Trust”. It’s the Wellcome Trust, not a person by the name of Turst.

The Guardian is affectionately nicknamed the Grauniad… though it probably has no more typos than anyone else.

Posted by: Tom Leinster on April 9, 2012 10:02 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Wellcome Joins In

This really is welcome news. The life sciences are Elsevier’s core business. Mathematicians may be small fish to Elsevier, but this is starting to be a big wave. I hope they’re starting to regret screwing us over for so long…

Posted by: Scott Morrison on April 10, 2012 1:43 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Wellcome Joins In

Its fantastic news. Elseviers probably quivering in their boots. Who says blogs can’t make a difference…roll on a publishing revolution!

Posted by: mozibur ullah on April 10, 2012 4:13 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Wellcome Joins In

Its actually the headline in the print version of the Guardian

Posted by: mozibur ullah on April 10, 2012 1:38 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Wellcome Joins In

Superb! I’m a little surprised, given that another prominent story was Syrian troops firing across the Turkish border… but it’s surely good for the cause.

Posted by: Tom Leinster on April 10, 2012 7:54 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Wellcome Joins In

The Guardian is also carrying an editorial on this, beginning with the words “Some very clever people have put up with a very silly system for far too long.”

My favourite sentence:

This extraordinary racket is, at root, about the bewitching power of high-brow brands.

Posted by: Tom Leinster on April 11, 2012 2:10 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Wellcome Joins In

I’m all in favor of open access if it’s like ArXiv but I think the form of open access where you must pay to publish is worse than the current system. It means people without funding cannot publish which means they won’t get funding next time around and thus begins a vicious circle. I would rather my work be behind a pay wall than unpublished for not being able to pay the ridiculous open access fee. I realize the situation is different in, say life sciences, where research without funding is not really possible.
Posted by: Benjamin Steinberg on April 11, 2012 4:35 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

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