Select Committee on Science and Technology Written Evidence


Memorandum from Professor Thomas Elbert, University of Konstanz, Germany

  As chairman of the Math and Natural Science Section at Konstanz University (Sektionsleiter) I would like to put on record my support of Open Access publishing as practiced by BioMed Central, PLoS and others.

  The rise in journal prices well above normal inflation over many years has created a situation in which the world's information-poor have become poorer. The world's information-rich are also losing some of their wealth of information, not to the world's information-poor but to the swelling profits of a monopoly of publishers. Taxpayer funds in countries across the world are being used to create further inequality in access to information as authors publish in journals which cannot be afforded by an increasing number of libraries.

  This spiral of higher prices driven by greed for higher profits leading to further reduction in access to information cannot be allowed to continue. Many of my colleagues are concerned about the present scholarly publishing system and we are looking for ways to make the content we write more rather than less accessible to people who seek the information we can offer. Most journals published contain publicly-funded research results needed by people across the world and therefore it is necessary to open up access to all those who need high-quality information. Publicly funded medical research in particular should be available without restrictions to all.

January 2004

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