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Scale and speed of research needlessly restricted unless findings made available to all online

Published: 
11 February 2004

Researchers from all over the world will meet at the University of Southampton on Thursday 19 February to discuss ways to increase the growth and spread of knowledge by making vital research findings more widely available.

At present, around 24,000 research journals worldwide publish some 2.5 million articles a year. But fewer than 1000 of them are open-access journals, providing access to less than 5% of those articles. The Joint Information Systems Committee estimates British Universities spend £76 million a year on subscriptions.

According to Professor Stevan Harnad of the School of Electronics and Computer Science, hundreds of thousands of articles could be made open-access overnight, if their authors were to self-archive them on their university websites.

"No university can afford to subscribe to anywhere near all research journals and most can only afford access to a small and shrinking fraction of them.

"This represents a needless, culmulative loss of research progress and productivity for researchers, their institutions, their funders and, ultimately, for taxpayers who fund the funders.

"The longer we wait, the longer and bigger will be our growing daily, weekly, monthly and yearly loss of research impact because of self-denial to would-be users world-wide."

University of Southampton Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Adam Wheeler will open the 19 February meeting which will be attended by representatives of UK government departments, research councils and other funding bodies.

Notes for editors

The 19 February meeting starting at 9.45am at the University's New College campus is open to the press. Full details on http://opcit.eprints.org/feb19prog.html
Please contact Dr Steve Hitchcock if you would like to attend.

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