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Unanimous vote to extend SCOAP3 open-access publishing to 2024

Researchers and scientists will be able to enjoy open-access high-energy physics literature through SCOAP3 for two additional years

The SCOAP3 governing council gathered virtually to decide on the extension of the programme (Image: CERN)

The Governing Council (GC) of the SCOAP3 collaboration has voted unanimously to extend the programme for an additional two years. This global initiative, hosted by CERN, has transitioned 90% of the literature in high-energy physics to open access. This extension represents the collective support of the global partnership to help secure continued open-access publishing for researchers from CERN, as well as authors from around the world, in the leading journals in the discipline until the end of 2024.

The Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics, SCOAP3, is a partnership of 3000 libraries, funding agencies and research organisations from 42 countries and 3 intergovernmental organisations. In cooperation with leading scientific publishers and learned societies, SCOAP3 has supported the transition to open access of key journals in the field of high-energy physics since 2014, and has served as inspiration for several other open-access initiatives around the world. During the almost seven years of operation, more than 20 000 scientists from 120 countries have benefited from the opportunity to publish over 38 000 open-access articles free of charge.

In its 10th annual meeting held on 21 and 22 October (the first to be conducted entirely virtually), the SCOAP3 Governing Council deliberated over the recommendation of the SCOAP3 Tender Working Group (STWG) on the future strategy for the programme beyond its current phase, which concludes at the end of 2022. The STWG – comprising a diverse group of experts from across the collaboration – recommended a two-year extension of the programme in its current structure. This would provide institutions and publishers of the SCOAP3 partnership with stability during the financial uncertainty resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. There was broad agreement that SCOAP3 provides excellent value for money when benchmarked against other open-access initiatives, and that it should be prioritised for support over other options in the current economic context. As a result, the GC voted unanimously to support this proposal.

CERN will now commence negotiations with publishers to secure contract extensions, and pending the approval of the Finance Committee, a formal announcement of the two-year extension of SCOAP3 is expected to be made in mid-2021. SCOAP3 users should thus not expect changes in their access to high-energy physics literature for the coming years.