LONDON—The first stage of the UK's investigation into scientific publishing wrapped up this week with small publishers and open access advocates saying that the way science is funded, published and archived will need to be changed, if open access publishing is to be adopted.

“Unless we see a big change in the way that research is funded, open access isn't sustainable in any format other than as an experiment,” Julia King, of the UK Institute of Physics, told the Commons Science and Technology Select Committee. The institute publishes the New Journal of Physics, an open access “experiment.”

Harold Varmus, of the US-based open access group Public Library of Science, and Vitek Tracz, from for-profit open access publisher BioMedCentral (partner of The Scientist), underlined the need for transform the system. They argued, however, that open access was not a choice but an imperative.

Tracz spoke about the...

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