The Wellcome Trust is one of the most valuable organisations in Open Access. It’s blazed a trail of clarity through the Open Access jungle. Very simply:
- WT require their grantees to publish Gold CC-BY Open Access
- They provide money to make sure it happens.
- They have a clear transparent record of they spend.
It’s a model that all funders should emulate.
So, yesterday, Robert Kiley announced a spreadsheet of Open Access spending. A heroic effort. Every paper is listed with the publisher, the title and the details. Here’s an excellent review: http://epriego.wordpress.com/2014/03/20/wellcome-trust-apcs-towards-an-open-access-serials-crisis/ . Cameron Neylon has tidied up the spreadsheet
Neylon, Cameron (2014): Wellcome Trust Article Processing Charges by Article 2012/13. figshare.
and some of the OKFN have also contributed volunteer labour.
What follows is not contrived. I really did pick the first article in the spread sheet.
So I go to the first record (PMC ID, Publisher, Journal, Title, APC paid by Wellcome)
“PMC3378987, Elsevier, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, “Parent support and parent mediated behaviours are associated with children’s sugary beverage consumption”, £2,379.54
I put the title into Google (most people do this rather than using publisher searches) and get: http://www.andjrnl.org/article/PIIS2212267211019447/fulltext
Let’s zoom in:
How strange … I thought this was a list of Open Access papers. That you didn’t have to pay for.
Since I haven’t got the contract between WT and Elsevier I shan’t cast any aspersions. Maybe Wellcome got the details wrong? Maybe they are happy for Elsevier to charge for Open Access?
Or, just possibly, Elsevier have got some explaining to do.
UPDATE: Jan Velterop has tweeted that it’s available at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2212267211019447 as “Open Access funded by Wellcome Trust”. Of course it’s claimed by Elsevier as :”Copyright © 2012 Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.”.
So Robert Kiley thought he was paying for everyone to be able to read the article in the journal. He wasn’t. He was paying for the article to be put behind an Elsevier paywall.
So I invite the “Director of Access and Policy” at Elsevier to explain. And it’s NOT satisfactory to say “Oh you can get it for free at Science Direct”. Most people will look in the journal. And many haven’t a clue about ScienceDirect.