Earlier this week the Large Hadron Collider at CERN started high-energy operation, heralding a new era of scientific research, which will yield a rich harvest of scientific results.

Meanwhile, results from a earlier, lower-energy test of the accelerator in December 2009 have been already been published: by the ATLAS collaboration in Elsevier’s Physics Letters B, the CMS collaboration in Sissa Journal of High Energy Physics and the ALICE collaboration in Springer’s European Physical Journal C. These three articles are a remarkable advance in scholarly communication in the field: they are published Open Access with no fees for authors; CERN has retained the copyright for the benefit of the scientific collaborations; they are made available under a Creative Common Licence. This collaboration with major publishers in the field signifies the engagement of the publishing industry to Open Access in High-Energy Physics, the ultimate goal of SCOAP3.

While these articles appeared Open Access thanks to special agreements between publishers and CERN, the host laboratory of the LHC, the SCOAP3 effort aims to convert all the literature of the field to Open Access, at no costs for authors. A budget envelope of 10 Million Euros/year is estimated for the operation, and about 70% of these funds have been so far pledged by partners in 23 countries.

SCOAP3 is now discussion new partnerships in Asia, South America and with U.S. libraries of all sizes in order to proceed to the next phase of the initiative: a call for tender to publishers to provide Open Access and peer-review to the first high-energy results of the LHC expected later this year and all other theoretical and experimental articles in the field.