The British Government will promote Open Access but the expensive way (The Guardian, this morning), consequently raising the cost for research funds, hence for researchers, to about 50 millions £ per year, in order to open freely access to scientific publications while preserving the big publishing houses’ profits.

This decision, to be taken later today, which appears at first sight as supportive for a free diffusion of research, could well meet one claim of the Open Access worldwide movement (free access to research output) but could also harm considerably the other (fight escalating publication costs).

Extending this imperfect (perhaps even misleading, since one may see only the bright side) example to the entire European Community could damage university research seriously and perhaps durably, at least for the whole transition period while both systems will coexist before all scientific knowledge will be published directly in « Gold » Open Access journals. At that time, the only cost will be that of editing and publishing on line and will include the peer reviewing process. The hybrid system where universities pay to read AND to publish as well is simply disastrous for our budgets and reduces considerably research funding.

We are here at the core of the dilemma: promote research internationally or spare the big publishing houses’ business model.