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High-energy physics opens up

SCOAP3 trumpets win with journals

Array of multicoloured LEDs reminiscent of the matrix

The Higgs boson isn’t the only win CERN can point to this year: the organization that runs the Large Hadron Collider has overcome a political challenge to match its physics: helping provide open access to the entire field of high-energy physics.

In a deal brokered by CERN and the Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics – SCOAP3 – pretty much all of high-energy physics will go open access.

The deal represents a huge revision of the way peer-reviewed publication is funded. Instead of fronting up for high subscription fees, libraries will fund the per-article open access fees under a scale negotiated by SCOAP3. This will either reduce, or replace entirely, library subscriptions, while relieving the scientists of the need to front up with the publishing charge.

Physics is already the poster-child of open access publishing via Arxiv – which, however, concentrates on pre-press items that haven’t yet gone through the journals’ peer review processes.

It took six years of negotiation for SCOAP3 to strike the deal, according to Nature, including running the bidding process under which the fees were set.

SCOAP3 and CERN will continue negotiations with publishers that haven’t yet signed on. CERN’s Salvatore Mele told Nature he is hoping that the deal will serve as a model for other disciplines such as astronomy and astrophysics. ®

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