While progress has been hamstrung by lack of scale or regulatory force, advocates say the time has come
Covid-19 has helped breathe urgency into Australia’s slow-moving campaign to make its publicly funded research openly accessible.
It is a shame not to see similar moves by Australia’s peak research funding bodies or our Federal government, we are thrilled by this development. We strongly believe science should not only be open, it should be not-for-profit as well. We hope this great move will further the drive towards democratising scientific knowledge.
Australian chief scientist Cathy Foley, who has embraced open science as a key policy focus, wants to elevate the role of such agreements. Under her proposed Australian model for open access, a “central implementing body” armed with a “central pool of funds” would negotiate comprehensive national agreements with each publisher.
The agreements would enable anyone in the world to read Australian peer-reviewed journal articles, and anyone in Australia to read the journals in their entirety. Dr Foley argues that the costs may not exceed what Australian research institutions already pay in article processing and subscription fees, which she estimates at between A$460 million (£252 million) and A$1 billion a year.