“We as physics societies exist to ensure that physics delivers on its exceptional potential to benefit society. We recognise the important role of universal access to knowledge in achieving this goal and are therefore committed to making open access (OA) to physics research a reality. We welcome the increased policy momentum towards open science publishing but urge all stakeholders to ensure that the routes by which we achieve OA preserve the diversity, quality and financial sustainability of the peer-reviewed publishing upon which our research community depends.
Physics has long embraced open science and OA to research results. Physicists were among the first to share preprints via arXiv (1991), launch fully OA journals such as Optics Express (1997) and New Journal of Physics (1998), and implement innovative OA business models like SCOAP3 (2014). We continue to invest in launching high-quality OA journals, such as Physical Review X and Optica, and have established a range of transformative agreements1 with institutions to facilitate their transition to OA. Over the past decade, such proactive engagement has resulted in an average annual growth in OA physics articles of more than 25%, compared with an overall average annual growth in physics articles of around 2%2.
Whilst there has been considerable progress in creating fully OA physics journals, more than 85% of all physics articles continue to be published in hybrid journals3. Hybrid journals therefore still have an essential role to play in balancing the expansion of OA with preserving researchers’ freedom to publish in the most appropriate journal for their research. The ability of these journals to transition sustainably is challenged by the prospect of free and unrestricted distribution of accepted manuscripts without concomitant funding for the peer review and publication costs involved4. We are concerned that policies such as the proposed cOAlition S Rights Retention Strategy would undermine the viability of high-quality hybrid journals and mean that many physics researchers no longer have an adequate range of options or freedom of choice in where they publish their work….”