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Profit or Public Access – The Future of Scientific Publishing

The raging debate over the future of scientific publishing – polarising
between for profit versus free access – looks set to raise the roof at this
year’s Online Information conference at Olympia in December.

Leading figures in this rapidly changing area will have their say during a
debate moderated by Declan Butler, the respected European Correspondent of
Nature who has already rung alarm bells about developing trends.

Butler has pointed out that some commercial publishers have charged high
prices for low-circulation journals and enjoyed very high profit margins and
that few, if any, libraries can now afford subscriptions to even a
significant fraction of the literature.

It has been advocated that scientific articles should become free to one and
all soon after publication. Already scientists are being asked to sign a
petition demanding that publishers be given free access to material in their
research archives six months after the material has been published and place
the archive material on a central web server.

But Vicky Reich of the not-for-profit HighWire press is expected to point
out that this would hit her sector the hardest. Not-for-profit publishers’
stand against the large commercial publishers who compete with them for
authors and readers would be weakened with negative consequences for
universities and science in general.

By contrast Derk Haank, CEO of publishers Elsevier Science, will question
whether scientists are really so hindered by current publishing practice
that the underlying business models should be changed dramatically.

Other speakers in this important debate will include Jan Velterop, publisher
of Bio MedCentral, Jerry Cowhig, MD, Institute of Physics Publishing, USA
and Matt Dunie, President Cambridge Scientific Abstracts, USA.

Event Director Katherine Allen commented: “At the heart of the scientific
publishing debate is the information professional community. They are the
ones who must deliver affordable, timely and quality-guaranteed information
to their end-users. With this session at the Online Information conference
we are striving to bring together all the arguments to move discussion

More details about the Online Information conference programme are available

The Online Information conference attracts hundreds of international
information professionals, librarians, knowledge managers and publishers.
The conference runs alongside the world’s largest exhibition for the
information industry, which is expected to attract more than 300 exhibitors
including all the major business and professional publishers and thousands
of visitors.


Note to editors:

For further details: see the web site at,
Or contact Rebekah Hart, Marketing Manager at Learned Information Europe
Telephone: +44 (0)1865 388000, e-mail:

For further press information:

contact Ross Clarke or David Wallen,
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7630 1100

Online Information is the largest information industry event in the world
and is organised by Learned Information Europe Ltd.

The conference presents leading industry commentators, consultants and
professionals, top academics and key vendors exploring major issues that
have shaped the industry, determining the key trends facilitating
developments for the future.

The exhibition brings together over 300 exhibiting companies showcasing a
wealth of information sources for all industry sectors as well as solutions
for information management, retrieval and dissemination.

The event takes place on 4th-6th December 2001 at Olympia Grand Hall,
London, UK.

The Executive Board for the conference includes:

· Martin White, Managing Director, Intranet Focus Ltd, UK

· Sheila Webber, Lecturer, Department of Information Studies, Sheffield
University, UK

· Lesley Robinson, Independent Consultant, UK

· David Mort, Director, IRN Services Ltd, UK

· Susan Jackson, Head of Information, Roche Discovery Welwyn, UK

· Paul Blake, Editor, ManageIT, UK