A group of 46 senior scientists accused the Royal Society this week of putting its own considerations above those of science by adopting a negative stance on the issue of open access publishing, in which scientific literature is made freely available via the Internet. The letter-writers argue that the Royal Society is disparaging open access to protect the interests of for-profit publishers – including the Royal Society itself -- while the Society accuses petitioners of harbouring their own conflict of interest.

In an open letter made public on Wednesday (December 7), Nobel laureate James Watson and 45 other Fellows and Foreign Members of the Royal Society said the move towards open access to research literature "builds on the tradition of making research data openly available," and the Royal Society appears to be "putting the concerns of existing publishers (including the Society itself) ahead of the needs of science."


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