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Editorial Snapshot: Major European funders call for publishers to respect researchers’ rights

- G.A., Senior Editor

As open access publishing continues to expand due to the increasing momentum of Plan S, the attention of some research funding agencies is beginning to shift from the benefits of open access for readers to the benefits for the authors themselves.

As the name “open access” suggests, the goal of this publishing model is to ensure that interested researchers are able to read published works they are interested in, regardless of the financial strength of their institution or their own personal financial health. However, as a coalition of funders of research point out in their recent joint statement, open access publishing models must also consider the rights of the researchers and universities themselves.

While open access is seen as the future of academic publishing, requirements for authors to sign exclusive publishing agreements that restrict re-use are considered by some to be outdated. Only by allowing authors to retain ownership of their work and the right to re-use and share the output of their research can a publishing model be considered truly open.

As this coalition of funders points out, publishers have taken great strides to improve open access; therefore, their call for the protection of authors’ rights is merely another step in the process of improving open access. As publishers have been willing to make changes and embrace open access, it is likely that they will also be willing to consider the issue of open access from the perspective of the authors themselves.

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