Challenge for Chief Scientist: leading open access out of the policy weeds

Chief Scientist Cathy Foley says she is “closely considering” an Open Access strategy  – it might have surprised people who thought they were working on one

With “well over half of Australian academic papers requiring a payment to access,” this “hinders our capability to compete internationally,” Dr Foley said last week in a speech setting out her priorities (CMM March 18).

Which the two organisations working on OA could not but back. “Access to information is the great enabler for innovation and for research commercialisation.” We look forward to working with Dr Foley and colleagues across the research sector on this important initiative,” the Council of Australian University Librarians and the Australasian Open Access Strategy Group state.

But they want it known that the “foundations” for a national strategy “have been laid over the past 20 years.” These include CAUL agreements with small discipline society journal publishers (CMM, October 18 and November 4 2019).

And while CAUL and AOASG support the European Plan S for research open access, they also explain why it would not necessarily suit local circumstances (CMM February 12 2019).

The challenges for Dr Foley are to chart a course for OA implementation out of the policy weeds and find the needed money .