The changes represent significant and coordinated steps towards Open Access for a research organisation in Australia, and will see CSIRO lead the way in removing paywalls and enabling unrestricted access to its research in scientific journals, instead of readers paying journals to access CSIRO's published research.
The global shift towards Open Access aims to democratise science by ensuring research is available to everyone, not just those with journal subscriptions.
The 100-year-old organisation has begun the journey towards Open Access, expected to take a number of years, by signing transformative 'read and publish' agreements with publishers including American Institute of Physics, Company of Biologists, Elsevier, Microbiology Society, Royal Society, and Royal Society of Chemistry to publish CSIRO science for readers to access for free – many of which are the first of their kind in Australia.
CSIRO's editorially independent publishing business, CSIRO Publishing, also offers Open Access arrangements, including this month signing a number of agreements with the Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL) member institutions, as well as with CSIRO itself.
CSIRO Acting Chief Scientist, Dr Sarah Pearce, said CSIRO was removing barriers to access and increasing opportunities for their published research to make a difference in the world.
"At a time when people around the world are turning to science for answers, we're proud to be making more and more of our published research openly available," Dr Pearce said.
"In this way, everyone can read the science themselves and increase the impact of our research
"At the same time, we must maintain the very highest standards of peer review and publishing practices, so finding a viable way to transition the model for journal publishers, like CSIRO Publishing, towards Open Access is exciting.
"We can expand the reach of the outputs of scientific research while ensuring scientific integrity is protected."
CSIRO Chief Information and Data Officer, Brendan Dalton, encouraged other research institutions to join the movement.
"As the national science agency, sharing our research with the world is essential to supporting national and international research excellence and fostering collaboration, so we're proud to have signed a number of transformative agreements already, and look forward to increasing this number over the coming years as contracts come up for renewal," Mr Dalton said.
"Open Access ensures we can solve the greatest challenges by sharing new knowledge across borders, across industries, and across communities to stimulate innovation, deliver social benefits and drive economic prosperity."
CSIRO's Open Access Position StatementCSIRO Publishing's Open Access approach