Good News: The Long Awaited Launch of SCOAP3

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December 05, 2013

Word from CERN today is that the long-awaited launch of the SCOAP3 Open Access publishing initiative will officially happen on January 1, 2014.  As SPARC members are well aware, SCOAP3 (The Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics) is an international collaboration of more than a thousand libraries, library consortia and research organizations who have banded together to collectively provide full Open Access to the majority of articles published in the discipline of high-energy research.

This innovative collaboration was spearheaded by CERN, which had the vision of building a collective negotiating structure for libraries, publishers, and funding agencies to effectively agree on a model to flip an entire discipline from a subscription-based publishing model to an Open Access model. Ultimately, 11 of the primary publishers in high-energy physics – including Springer, Institute of Physics (IOP), and Elsevier – agreed to participate in this unique venture.

The model is elegantly simple: libraries and research funding agencies agreed to pool funds currently allocated to support subscriptions to the high-energy physics journals of participating publishers, and to re-allocate those funds to directly support the peer review process instead of ongoing subscription costs. In exchange, participating libraries receive reduced subscription fees, and the articles in the SCOAP3 journals are now available under Open Access terms – free to read, with authors retaining copyright, and reuse ensured through the use of open licenses.

SCOAP3 Project Leader Salvatore Mele worked tirelessly to bring our community successfully to the table to with leading physics publishers, crisscrossing the United States (and the globe) over the past five years to build consensus and structure and an arrangement built to succeed. SPARC is proud to have provided our consistent support to this effort, and we congratulate Salvatore and his dedicated team on the impending launch of this important venture.

When it launches next month, SCOAPwill represent the largest single global Open Access initiative built to date, with library and publishing partners from 24 counties around the world. If your library is already a participant in this collaboration, we thank you. If not, we urge you to consider joining and lending your support to ensure the ongoing success of this initiative.