BSHM support for open letters from SHAC & Friends of Coleridge on UKRI OA policy

BSHM support for open letters from SHAC & Friends of Coleridge on UKRI OA policy

Monday 25 May 2020

Over the last week both Frank James, writing as Chair of  the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry (SHAC) and Tim Fulford of The Friends of Coleridge have released open letters to Sir Duncan Wingham regarding the current review of Open Access (OA) publishing.

The British Society for the History of Mathematics (BSHM) is a Society with much in common with both The Friends of Coleridge and SHAC. We are of comparable size, with membership being made up of academics, independent scholars, and enthusiastic amateurs. The members of Council give all their time and considerable effort for free and our funding comes from membership subscription and the publication of our Journal, the British Journal for the History of Mathematics. Further, the Journal is a valuable benefit of Society membership and helps to sustain a network of historians of mathematics both nationally and internationally.

The introduction of the proposed OA policy will have negative consequences for the BSHM, as it will do for SHAC, The Friends of Coleridge, and many other comparable learned societies.  As such the BSHM strongly endorses the concerns expressed by both these societies in their open letters.

 As the open letter from The Friends of Coleridge notes, many learned societies have for years been doing what the UKRI OA policy professes to promote, i.e. providing effective ways for university research to reach a wider public. It would be a grave and ironic consequence if, as a result of the OA policy, such societies were negatively, or indeed in some cases, fatally impacted.