A similar evolution in publishing has already occurred over the last generation. Just 20 years ago, the business model of all academic publishers centered on print journals, and virtually none had any sort of online presence. Today the publishing industry has largely evolved into business models centered on the web. This didn’t happen overnight. There were many experiments and forays into digital archiving that came up short. But today researchers everywhere enjoy easy access to archives that would have been unthinkable a generation ago.
I think that public access policies will similarly evolve in the next five–10 years, and scientific publishers will be evolving alongside. There are plenty of examples in nature of creatures that co-evolve—like Darwin’s flowers and finches on those isolated Pacific islands. Co-evolution is the healthiest way forward for public access and scientific publishing. Kill off the finches, and the flowers may whither on the vine."
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