For those that still aren't convinced of the importance of the Open Access movement, read Simon Caulkin's article in today's Guardian Observer (link courtesy of Open Access News). Caulkin's article succinctly pulls the major points of the open access debate together. For example, as he points out quite clearly,
How's this for a winning publishing formula? A university funds scientific research; the research is turned into a paper by an author, who pays a colour illustration and reprint charge - say, £1,000 - and surrenders the copyright for the privilege of publishing his findings in a specialised journal. Peers review the work for free, then the publisher prints the article - and sells it back for a hefty fee to the institution where the work was carried out in the first place.
. . . .
Over the past two years, protests at the unfairness of the current system have mounted. Having paid once to produce new scientific knowledge, funding agencies and scientists argue, why should taxpayers and charitable bodies have to pay again to use it?
The question for me is at what point do the humanities become involved in this debate? While the humanities perhaps doesn't pay for "colour illustration and reprint charge," the irony is yet the same. In regards to print publication, academic institutions are funding our research, we are then giving up our rights to the texts, and then having to pay for access to those texts. As Caulkin points out, an equally important consideration is the effect the very high price of science journals is having on library journal subscriptions where the humanities also suffers: