When UK academics in the humanities and social sciences complain of “cataclysms”, “delusional fantasies” and “sleepwalking into disaster”, you might assume they are talking about the recent removal of public funding for teaching their subjects. But there is another aspect of the government’s higher education policy that is causing increasing numbers of non-science scholars to fear the worst.
Twelve months ago, open access was a somewhat arcane cause, particularly outside the sciences. It was championed by a relatively small cadre of committed activists (often those associated with university libraries) outraged by years of above-inflation rises in journal subscription rates and fired by the conviction that research funded by the public should be freely accessible.
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