Open access is an umbrella term for publication models that allow anyone to read articles online, regardless of whether they have a subscription to the journal. Momentum and support for open access is growing among authors, readers, funders and governments. As a result of this, publishers and their journals will clearly have to adapt.
In the UK, for example, the Research Councils UK (RCUK) launched a new policy in July 2012 stating that all peer-reviewed published research funded by RCUK from 1 April, 2013 must be open access, either via a ‘green’ (i.e. self-archiving) or ‘gold’ (author-pays) approach, which has been supported by the government.
In July 2012, the European Commission outlined measures to improve access to scientific information produced in Europe. The Commission will make open access to scientific publications a general principle of Horizon 2020, the European Union’s Research & Innovation funding programme for 2014–2020.
For several years now, funding bodies such as the US National Institutes of Health, the Wellcome Trust and the Europe PMC Funders Group have mandated that authors to whom they have provided funding will provide a copy of their final peer-reviewed author-supplied manuscripts for public archiving in compliance with requirements (ranging 6–12 months from official publication in the journal in which the author is publishing his article.