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Read and Publish Agreements – making Curtin research freely available to the world

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Dr Hendra Gunosewoyo, Catherine Clark (University Librarian) and Dr Alan Payne stand outside in front of bushes holding mugs that say

Traditionally, libraries pay a lot of money for books and journal subscriptions which allow students and scholars to read the world’s latest research. But if you don’t have a subscription, you can’t access the research, even if it was funded by public money from government grants.

In recent years, many publishers have moved towards making journal articles and books openly available, meaning that anyone can access the research as long as they have an internet connection. But this is often achieved by publishers charging authors a co-processing fee to cover their publication costs. So we have ended up with a situation in which both libraries AND authors are paying publishers.

In response to this, funders are increasingly insisting that all research paid for by them is made open and free immediately on publication. To accelerate the uptake of Open Access publishing the transformative agreement has emerged, one form of which is the Read and Publish Agreement. This is a negotiated agreement between a publisher and an institution for access to journal content – the library continues to pay a subscription, but the cost also covers open access publishing by the institution’s researchers.

In Australia, the Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL) has been negotiating with a range of publishers to effect these agreements and Curtin authors are now able to publish Open Access (OA) with CSIRO, The Royal Society and Karger.

The very first article by Curtin authors to be made OA under this new arrangement was a paper by Curtin PhD student Alexander Hamilton, his supervisor Dr Hendra Gunosewoyo (Senior Lecturer, Curtin Medical School) and co-authors Dr Alan Payne (Senior Lecturer, School of Molecular and Life Sciences) and Professor Mauro Mocerino (Professor, School of Molecular and Life Sciences). Thanks to the Library’s commitment to read and publish agreements anyone in the world can read the article Imaging Cannabinoid Receptors: A Brief Collection of Covalent and Fluorescent Probes for CB1 and CB2 Receptors.

Alex and Hendra

Alexander Hamilton and his supervisor Dr Hendra Gunosewoyo

Asked about the process required to make their article open, Dr Gunosewoyo said:

We are fortunate to be the very first Curtin authors to take advantage of the Open Access agreement between CSIRO and Curtin. The process was refreshingly straightforward and the editorial assistance from CSIRO Australian Journal of Chemistry was second to none. We are grateful to be part of the Curtin’s Read and Publish agreements currently existing for CSIRO, Royal Society and Karger. If resources allow, we think it would be a fantastic opportunity for Curtin to expand this Open Access base with future publishers sharing similar spirit.

The good news is that some major publishers will be coming on board in 2022, giving Curtin authors access to fee-free OA publishing options in a wide range of journals across many disciplines.

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