The Committee should be aware that the report was
read and considered carefully and that the Government's response
incorporated the views and interests of all the Government departments
and bodies involved.
The Government is looking to get the best system
to communicate information from researchers to those interested
in the research. The Government should be supporting the best
and most cost effective way possible to channel scientific outputs
and at the moment it is not demonstrable that the 'author pays'
model is the better system.
1. It is clear to us that, in the Government Response,
DTI has sought to neutralise some of views put forward by the
Joint Information Systems Committee and other organisations and
departments. This will prevent the Government from making any
significant progress on this issue. (Paragraph 7)
All contributors were consulted at each stage and
given the opportunity to review how their contributions were reflected
in the text, and amendments were made in response to their comments.
DTI has not sought to neutralise the views of JISC.
We have worked in consultation with JISC throughout the exercise,
including on how their views were reflected in the Government's
response. The Government decided that it should set out clearly
its current views on this important subject. This does not mean
that if new information emerges the Government will not take account
2. Rather than engaging in the complex issues
posed by the Committee's Report, the Government has clearly decided
against the author-pays model ahead of the further investigation
that it was urged to pursue. This approach prejudges the issue.
The Government has given considerable thought to
the complex issues raised in the Select Committee's Report. It
was made clear in the Government's Response that the Government
welcomed the Report which was very helpful in the significant
way it widened and deepened the debate. Much thought and effort
went into the Government's Response looking at the wide range
of issues raised. Many stakeholders were consulted and a range
of Government Departments and organisations contributed to this
consideration and to the Response.
The Government has not decided against the author-pays
model, but does not want to force a premature transition to a
To strongly endorse or reject the author-pays approach
would not be in the interests of allowing the market itself to
evolve to meet the needs of authors and the wider academic community.
3. Following completion of the European Commission
study into the market for scientific publications, to which the
OFT response refers, we request that the Director General of Fair
Trading agrees to write again to the Committee setting out the
actions he proposes to take on the basis of the Commission's findings
and the concerns expressed in our Report. (Paragraph 10)
As an independent, statutory organisation, the OFT
have submitted a separate response.
4. We are disappointed that the Government has
missed the opportunity to take more decisive action in response
to our Report. We recommend that the Government reconsider its
position on this important issue in the light of the other responses
to our Report published here; the forthcoming RCUK policy on the
publication of, and access to, research outputs; and in view of
the support for the Committee's stance from the Wellcome Trust,
an important research funder. In this context, we do not believe
that Government should continue to refuse to provide the modest
funds necessary to make institutional repositories workable, and
to allow the experimentation necessary to properly test the feasibility
of the author-pays publishing model. (Paragraph 12)
The action the Government has decided on is to facilitate
a level playing field, which will enable authors who wish to publish
in author-pays journals to do so. This includes working with RCUK
on a common policy that allows scientists to publish in an author
pays journal where they want to do so.
The Government will, of course, consider all evidence
as it becomes available and is looking forward to the results
of studies being undertaken by the JISC and others, as well as
the RCUK policy paper expected early 2005. In the meantime funding
through the JISC is encouraging some experiments in author pays
publication and there are also new initiatives by commercial publishers,
such as Springer.
The Government recognises the potential benefits
of Institutional Repositories and sees them as a significant development
worthy of encouragement. But it believes that each Institution
has to make its own decision about Institutional Repositories
depending on individual circumstances.