The Next U.K. Chief Scientific Adviser Likely Fancies His Open Access

The U.K. Cabinet Office recently announced that a successor to Professor Sir John Beddington has been selected.  The next Government Chief Scientific Advisor (GCSA) will be Sir Mark Walport.  Sir Mark is presently Director of the Wellcome Trust, the second largest private funder of medical research in the world.  Prior to joining the Trust, Walport was Professor of Medicine and Head of the Division of Medicine and Imperial College London.  He will take over from the current GCSA at the beginning of April, stepping down from his current position early next year.

Now, the Wellcome Trust has recently pushed forward the U.K. open access bandwagon with its creation of an open access journal and open access policy that requires research it funds to be widely available within six months of publication.  The Trust put some teeth into this effort earlier in the week by stipulating that non-compliant papers will be discounted in future grant applications, and final grant payments will be withheld unless the institutions of funded researchers can assure the Trust that all associated papers will be compliant with the policy.  Those currently receiving Trust funds will have to assure the Trust of their compliance with the policy or risk losing grant renewals and/or subsequent funding.

Not that anyone in the U.K. government has expressed serious reservations about its push for open access for all government-funded research, but with Walport taking over as GCSA, that open access bandwagon will likely pick up speed.

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