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Page last updated at 07:36 GMT, Tuesday, 10 April 2012 08:36 UK

Call to share research papers

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One of the world's largest funders of science is to throw its weight behind a growing campaign to break the stranglehold of academic journals and allow all research papers to be shared online.

Nearly 9,000 researchers have already signed up to a boycott of journals that restrict free sharing as part of a campaign dubbed the "academic spring" by supporters due to its potential for revolutionising the spread of knowledge

Sir Mark Walport, chief executive of the Wellcome Trust, told the Today programme's James Naughtie that there is a revolution going on in scientific communication due to the internet and the Wellcome Trusty wants to make scientific research available to everyone.

He said the effect of making this type of information available is seen in the revolution that the human genome brought in that the availability of the sequence online led to a "flowering" in the international scientific community.

"This is a cost of research like any other," he said adding that their organisation wants to "pay the publishers for the service which will be available to all."

He explained that the peer review process operates in the same way whether something is published in a subscription journal or an open access one.

He said the paradoxes is that one of the biggest costs of publishing papers is the peer review process and that scientists do the research for free and are then "locked behind a paywall."

"It's about offering scientific community the service they want," he finished.


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