With the push to publish more scientific research via open access, funding organisations are commissioning their own publishing platforms for the purpose. But are such platforms a good idea? A group of researchers has examined the “ethical, organisational, and economic strengths and weaknesses” of funder open access platforms in a recent preprint and blog post.
Given that funders are increasingly mandating that researchers publish via existing open access routes, why are funder platforms emerging? The authors suggest that, in addition to increasing open access uptake and fostering open practices, funders may choose to create publishing platforms to control costs, reduce administrative burden or increase funder branding of research. The popularity of such initiatives is growing ,with the European Commission now creating a platform similar to those already established by the Wellcome Trust (Wellcome Open Research) and the Gates Foundation (Gates Open Research).
The authors highlight possible concerns associated with funder platforms including the potential for conflicts of interest, exclusion of smaller funders, and reliance on specific organisations for technologies. They are however optimistic that, with appropriate guidance, the creation of open, interoperable infrastructure is possible. The authors conclude by providing a number of guiding principles for the future development of funder platforms.