17 Jul 2012

Access to UK research to be free in future

5:49 am on 17 July 2012

The British government has announced plans to make all academic research funded by taxpayers available online free of charge from 2014.

At present, research is published in academic journals to which universities pay subscription fees to see research that has already been funded from the public purse.

The BBC reports the government says it hopes other countries will follow suit.

Under new proposals the government will pay publishers a fee each time a paper is published. In return the research will be available to those who wish to see it.

The total cost of the subsidy is estimated to be £50 million per year which will be taken from funds that would otherwise have been spent on research.

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said: ''Removing paywalls ... will have real economic and social benefits.

''It will allow academics and businesses to develop and commercialise their research more easily and herald a new era of academic discovery.''

British universities currently pay an estimated US375 million per year in journal subscription fees.