Brought to book
Academic journals face a radical shake-up
IF THERE is any endeavour whose fruits should be freely available, that endeavour is surely publicly financed science. Morally, taxpayers who wish to should be able to read about it without further expense. And science advances through cross-fertilisation between projects. Barriers to that exchange slow it down.
There is a widespread feeling that the journal publishers who have mediated this exchange for the past century or more are becoming an impediment to it. One of the latest converts is the British government. On July 16th it announced that, from 2013, the results of taxpayer-financed research would be available, free and online, for anyone to read and redistribute.
Britain's government is not alone. On July 17th the European Union followed suit. It proposes making research paid for by its next scientific-spending round-which runs from 2014 to 2020, and will hand out about