Select Committee on Science and Technology Written Evidence


Memorandum from Dr Jean Pierre L Bayley, Leiden University, Netherlands

  In reference to your call for evidence as to the shortcomings involved in the current system of disseminating scientific information, I wish to pass on the following anecdote:

  Recently a fellow researcher contacted me with a request for a reprint of an article that I had published in a specialist medical journal. As neither this researchers university library nor my own has a subscription to this journal, I requested a PDF from the publishers for my own use, this journal having discontinued the custom of providing reprints to authors. The publishers were willing to provide me with the PDF but at the cost of EUR250. Not wishing to support such behaviour, I was forced to send my correspondent an uncorrected proof. Although legally correct, practices such as this demonstrate that some publishers are entirely self-serving and are inhibiting the free dissemination of scientific knowledge.

  Personally I believe that the increasing use of open access journals will reduce cases such as these and make scientific knowledge more widely available to those who are now not able to afford full access. Even leading universities such as my own have been forced to reduce subscriptions in recent years.

December 2004

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