Particle physics is already a paragon of openness, with most papers posted on the preprint server arXiv. But peer-reviewed versions are still published in subscription journals, and publishers and research consortia at facilities such as the Large Hadron Collider have previously had to strike piecemeal deals to free up a few hundred articles.
After six years of negotiation, the Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics is now close to ensuring that nearly all particle-physics articles — about 7,000 publications last year — are made immediately free on journal websites. Upfront payments from libraries will fund the access and the contracts will be renegotiated in 2016.
The idea of all this maneuvering is to minimize the hassle for the scientists themselves and ensure that every paper is open access. The alternative is the 'author pays' model, where the researchers pay to publish. But that would require all authors to comply — a difficult rule to enforce. The new deal, however, also preserves publishers' profits — for now."
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