There is international interest in the concept of open access publishing and, since the recent publication of the Finch Report, in some respects the UK could now be said to be at the van guard of open access publishing policy. The concept has certainly driven recent policy on publicly-funded research in the UK.
At a recent meeting, the Scottish Science Advisory Council (SSAC) had a useful discussion on the merits of open access publishing. While there are clear points in favour of open access, such as promoting wider dissemination of research results and greater access for the public to the results of publicly funded research, we came to the conclusion that there are other potential unintended consequences arising from the policy that have not, to date, been fully recognised or debated.
As a result, the SSAC have produced a paper 'Some Consequences of Open Access Publishing' which sets out some potentially detrimental transitional effects and potentially permanent disadvantages in more detail.