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Coming to a Head?

Universities and library groups are pushing back against the high fees of scientific journal subscriptions and publication fees, Vox reports.

As Vox notes, the University of California system as well as Project Deal in Germany and others are seeking to change how contracts with publishers are made. Earlier this year, the University of California walked away from renewing its subscription with publisher Elsevier, after the UC sought a "read-and-publish" contract that combines journal subscription and open-access publishing fees. Project Deal, meanwhile, reached an agreement with publisher Wiley through which researchers at more than 700 academic institutions can access Wiley journals and publish open-access papers.

At the same time, Vox notes that research funders are also encouraging work they fund to be freely available. That, in conjunction, with the rise of preprint servers and even pirating sites may push the field toward increased access, it adds. "Everyone agrees, in some way, the future is open access," Brandon Butler from the University of Virginia Library tells Vox.

But one stumbling block, Vox notes, is how researchers are rewarded for work that appears in high-profile journals. "I'm also waiting to see change within academic culture," University of St. Andrews' Aileen Fyfe says. "Until we have enough academics who are willing to do something different, then I don't see a big change happening."