Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Wiley and Open Access

 A series of occasional posts looking at major publishers and their role and stance on Open Access. Wiley are a very big publisher for STM with over 1500 journals and they have recently begun publishing wholly open access journals as part of their Wiley Open Access series. They also have OnlineOpen which allows researchers to make articles in ‘subscription’ journals open access by paying an article processing charge which is usually met by a funder or institution. So Wiley are a great publisher. But are they really? 

I would venture that if you were to ask any repository manager or open access advocate about the publisher they most have problems with Wiley rather than Elsevier would come out top of the list. Why? Unlike Elsevier, Wiley have never allowed an earlier version of a paper e.g author accepted manuscript to be deposited in an institutional repository, not even with an embargo. Any information about making a version available would be met by ‘you need to check what the author contract states’, the few times we did manage to locate this contract it would state no but you could ask the publisher at which point they would again say no. However now that RCUK have put into place their new open access policy which requires all funded research to be made open Wiley have embraced an idea of open access as long as you give them money. 

Enquiries as to whether an author who does not have RCUK funding or access to funds could make an earlier version (author accepted manuscript) available were greeted with a resounding no. The argument that Wiley and others have made is that making earlier versions available would damage their business but yet they also argue that their final published version adds considerable value to the research, if that is the case why would an earlier version damage their business if the final published version is so much better?

Wiley will continue to publish many articles and many journals and while I wish our academics wouldn’t publish with them or would try to retain copyright it’s not gonna happen  but Wiley are not interested in open access for the sake of disseminating and maximising  scholarly knowledge but only in open access as another revenue stream.

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