Britain?s Royal Society dipped a cautious toe into the waters of open access publishing this week, allowing authors whose papers are accepted by any of its seven journals to pay a fee and have their work made freely available on the web.The society?s officials have expressed serious doubts about open access on several occasions in the past. Although they are still concerned by a lack of evidence about the sustainability of the model, they hope the experiment will ultimately be a success, spokesman Bob Ward told The Scientist. ?It?s a toe in the water, but it?s not based on an expectation that it will fail -- we expect that it will succeed,? he said. ?We are also hoping that this will allow us to gather some evidence that the whole sector can use.?The first paper published under the new system appears in Proceedings of the Royal Society B....

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