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In a recent Editors’ Update poll, we asked you to let us know which topics you would like to see covered in upcoming editions. May I begin by extending a big thank you to those of you who responded, and it was interesting to note that the three we had suggested – peer review, ethics and plagiarism and open access – proved equally popular.

Well, you voted and we listened. An ethics and plagiarism special is on the agenda for sometime in the future – please feel free to email us with ideas about what you would like to see covered. Meanwhile, our next edition features an article on the latest peer review pilots and their progress so far.

And open access? Well, we have devoted this entire edition to the topic and we hope you will find the contents useful. Perhaps they will prove enlightening too – after all, this is a subject around which much mystery remains. One thing we hope will become clear is that the open access path is one we are keen to walk down. And indeed one we have already made substantial progress along.

YS Chi

Youngsuk Chi

Youngsuk (YS) Chi, Chairman of Elsevier’s Management Committee, explains: “Elsevier is committed to the science and health communities, and this commitment drives our business decisions.  By heavily investing in making our content more discoverable and more accessible, we allow our customers to achieve their goals faster and more easily. We are committed to universal access and to sustainable business models, and have worked cooperatively and successfully with funding bodies to provide open access.

“Our company has actively and progressively promoted a wide range of access options.  This is important, since no one model will ever be the only solution for every type of journal.  For example, we publish 12 open access journals, including the flagship journal Cell Reports, we offer authors the option to sponsor open access to their article in more than 1,200 titles, and we have one of the industry's most liberal author posting policies for manuscripts and preprints.  We also provide a range of free and low-cost access options through programs like Research4Life, PatientINFORM, and the DeepDyve article rental service that allow our content to be accessed by those who need it most.”

In this Open Access Special, we begin by outlining our vision for the future of access to high-quality research in So, What is Universal Access?. We then burrow a little deeper with Open Access: Developing New Publishing Models, in which we shine a spotlight on the models currently available.

Creative Commons licenses are explored in two of our articles: Open Access and Creative Commons – Are they Separable? and Case Study: Cell Reports and the Creative Commons Path; in the latter Cell Reports Editor, Boyana Konforti, shares her thoughts on the launch of the latest Cell Press journal.

Copyright in an Open Access World takes a look at the complexity surrounding authors’ rights and Experience from the Field – Open Access Article Options discusses pricing and our strict no double dipping policy.

The release of this issue also marks the launch of an exciting new development on our Editors’ Update website – the new Short Communications bulletin board. This area has been created with you in mind; we wanted to develop a place where you can share news and opinions with fellow Editors. Wondering what to post? Why not take inspiration from existing contributors? You can read about Free Radical Biology & Medicine’s exciting Your Paper, Your Way pilot, which allows authors to format papers only after acceptance, or Environmental and Experimental Botany’s experiments with virtual special issues.

Editors’ Update is YOUR publication and we want you to be involved in shaping its future. I encourage you to use the online interactive elements we have introduced; write a Short Communication, cast a vote in a poll, and don’t forget you can post comments on our articles. It may be a cliché but your views are important to us so let us know how we can better serve you.

Thank you for taking the time to read this Open Access Special edition and we hope it will shed a little light on this very important topic. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and feedback.

Linda Willems