Anyone who has needed to purchase scientific writing, from textbooks to journals, knows how expensive this can be. It is inherently unfair that only those with money can learn about both well-established facts and modern research. Recently, a German collaboration of research institutions, libraries, and universities has successfully negotiated an unprecedented contract where publishers offer unlimited access of online content nationwide.
The German collaboration, known as Projekt DEAL, has officially made all the journals published by Wiley, an academic publishing company in the US, since 1997 available to German citizens for the next 3 years. Instead of the individual paying for each paper they access, a flat rate for institutions has been decided. This is a huge step towards open access to science. By creating open access to research, consumers are in no way damaging scientific funding, because scientists receive no money for others purchasing or reading their work. All of the access money goes to the publishers. The DEAL consortium hopes that this contract with Wiley will pressure other large publishers such as Springer and Elsevier to adopt similar open-access deals..
A negotiation of similar size of that with Wiley has never yet been achieved, and it is garnering public appreciation around the world. Removing the monetary barrier between citizens and science will likely result in less widespread belief in false statements propagated by the media and an increasing demand for informed public servants. This negotiation highlights a global inclination for education as a human right.
Managing Correspondant: Cari Cesarotti
Image Credit: Science 25 Aug 2017. DOI: 10.1126/science.357.6353.744