The Royal Society have launched a trial of new open access journal service,
"The Royal Society today (21 June 2006) launched a trial of an open access' journal service, which will allow people to read new scientific papers free of charge immediately after they are published on the web. The new service offers authors the opportunity to pay a fee to have their paper made freely available on the web immediately if it is accepted for publication by any Royal Society journal. The first paper to be published under the new service appears on the Royal Society's website today."
Thanks to Peter Suber for the link. Peter in another post makes a really important point about the importance of open access for the general public. In addressing a question from a reader about the proposed Federal Research Public Access Act of 2006, he says:
"most people won’t find the open literature that interesting, or will find it difficult to comprehend. The main beneficiaries of the bill are researchers, and the public benefits secondarily since the bill helps to maximize the performance of public money in the support of research. That said, we should not discount the range and breadth of public interests or the public capacity to use even arcane technical reports and papers...."
Whereas I often lament the open access or digital rights communities' lack of connection with the general public, and the public's long standing lack of interest in these issues, the success of the Open University is itself a testiment to the capacity of the general public to engage with complex ideas. Give Jo Public the facility to engage and she'll dazzle us all.