Nature: A recap of a successful year in open access, and introducing CC BY as default

A recap of a successful year in open access, and introducing CC BY as default by Carrie Calder, the Director of Strategy for Open Research, Nature Publishing Group/Palgrave Macmillan.

From the post:

We’re pleased to start 2015 with an announcement that we’re now using Creative Commons Attribution license CC BY 4.0 as default. This will apply to all of the 18 fully open access journals Nature Publishing Group owns, and will also apply to any future titles we launch. Two society- owned titles have introduced CC BY as default today and we expect to expand this in the coming months.

This follows a transformative 2014 for open access and open research at Nature Publishing Group. We’ve always been supporters of new technologies and open research (for example, we’ve had a liberal self-archiving policy in place for ten years now. In 2013 we had 65 journals with an open access option) but in 2014 we:

  • Built a dedicated team of over 100 people working on Open Research across journals, books, data and author services
  • Conducted research on whether there is an open access citation benefit, and researched authors’ views on OA
  • Introduced the Nature Partner Journal series of high-quality open access journals and announced our first ten NPJs
  • Launched Scientific Data, our first open access publication for Data Descriptors
  • And last but not least switched Nature Communications to open access, creating the first Nature-branded fully open access journal

We did this not because it was easy (trust us, it wasn’t always) but because we thought it was the right thing to do. And because we don’t just believe in open access; we believe in driving open research forward, and in working with academics, funders and other publishers to do so. It’s obviously making a difference already. In 2013, 38% of our authors chose to publish open access immediately upon publication – in 2014, this percentage rose to 44%. Both Scientific Reports and Nature Communications had record years in terms of submissions for publication.

Open access is on its way to becoming the expected model for publishing. That isn’t to say that there aren’t economies and kinks to be worked out, but the fundamental principles of open access have been widely accepted.

Not everywhere of course. There are areas of scholarship that think self-isolation makes them important. They shun open access as an attack on their traditions of “Doctor Fathers” and access to original materials as a privilege. Strategies that make them all the more irrelevant in the modern world. Pity because there is so much they could contribute to the public conversation. But a public conversation means you are not insulated from questions that don’t accept “because I say so” as an adequate answer.

If you are working in such an area or know of one, press for emulation of the Nature and the many other efforts to provide open access to both primary and secondary materials. There are many areas of the humanities that already follow that model, but not all. Let’s keep pressing until open access is the default for all disciplines.

Kudos to Nature for their ongoing efforts on open access.

I first saw the news about the post about Nature in a tweet by Ethan White.

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