Open Access to agricultural research: Developments and policies

Within the last years the awareness about scholarly communication has been raised which is important for the formulation of future policies in this area. This development can be deduced from the growing number of Open Access journals and repositories which are mostly supported by the scholar community. The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) for instance currently counts around 8,300 journals. Still in many domains even more papers are published in Open Access repositories which together form a worldwide database. “It is obvious that there is a large academic interest in Open Access”, says Alma.Together with the growing number of Open Access journals and repositories there is a growing number of policies that support or even demand the publication of contents in Open Access formats. These policies can be established either by research institutions or by research funders. It has turned out that without the corresponding policies the number of open accessible publications is far lower. Thus entrenched behavior has to be changed and the awareness of people for Open Access should be raised with the help of corresponding policies in future where the research funders inhabit a key role.

Alma Swan

Alma Swan is a consultant working in the field of scholarly communication. She is a director of Key Perspectives Ltd, Director of European Advocacy Programmes for SPARC, and holds honorary academic positions in the University of Southampton School of Electronics & Computer Science and the University of Warwick Business School.

Her work covers market research and business modelling, project management and evaluation, research communication practices and behaviours, and the study and promotion of new forms of scholarly communication in the age of the Web. She writes and makes frequent presentations on scholarly communication issues.

Alma has BSc and PhD degrees from the University of Southampton and an MBA from Warwick Business School. She is a Fellow of the Society of Biology and a Chartered Biologist, is an elected member of the Governing Board of Euroscience (the European Association for the Promotion of Science & Technology) and is the former editor of its online magazine, The Euroscientist.