Academic Publishing Trends

EU poised to adopt immediate open access with no charges for authors, for publicly funded research

In the wake of the mass resignation of the editorial board of the journal NeuroImage over increasing article processing charges (APCs), academia is about to witness another radical change pertaining to open access. The European Union is reportedly preparing to mandate immediate open access to papers reporting publicly funded research, without authors paying APCs.

Hitherto, one of the most common forms of open-access publishing has been the gold model, which usually requires the payment of APCs by the author. The new EU regulation acknowledges the inequalities in the ability of authors to pay such APCs. According to reports, the EU is set to back non-profit scholarly publishing models, which could have implications for commercial publishers.

Currently, many papers remain behind subscriber paywalls until an embargo period, often lasting a year or more, has elapsed. Embargoes were enforced on the uploading of papers to open-access repositories. The EU’s position on open access is a signal to researchers not to publish their work through routes that would impose embargoes or to circumvent those delays.

Further, the EU policy encourages rights-retention strategies that allow researchers to retain copyright over the accepted versions of their papers.

The new regulations are expected to be adopted by the Council of the EU member state governments by the end of May 2023; however, their exact contents are so far not released to the public. Until the final regulations are published, the scholarly publishing world will continue to speculate on the potential impact of this move to end or drastically limit APCs.

Marisha Rodrigues

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