The cost of knowledge is extraordinarily low and the cost of withholding knowledge is extraordinarily high
By Lawrence Yolland
Jon Tennant, a palaeontologist and Batman of Open Access sat down with us (over Skype) to discuss the value of open access and wade through the mud of scientific publishing. Jon is relentless, and there was never a sense of deflation over the current situation, only a drive to push for more transparency and actively pursue new outlets
So regular readers of this blog will know that I’m a pretty big fan of open access (OA) publishing. I wouldn’t call myself a “self-proclaimed OA advocate” as some seem to use pejoratively against me, but I support the principles of OA: free, unrestricted access to research for everyone. To that end, during my PhD I promised that every paper I published would be made OA. As a NERC funded student in the UK, this means I was in the fortunate position that the government had given the Research Councils UK (RCUK, which NERC is part of) millions to cover the ‘transitional costs to OA’, thereby alleviating any personal financial burden I might have had in pursuing OA.
What I want to provide here are reasons for the choices I made of where to publish in order of time throughout my PhD, and the associated costs with that. Indicated costs are the APCs, or article processing charges, unless stated otherwise.
So a few months ago, I was fortunate enough to be asked to give a talk at the Nature Careers Expo in London about how to use social media to build scientific communities. As part of this, there was a short panel discussion afterwards with myself and Sarah Blackford from the Society for Experimental Biology, and Nature have made a few short videos of some of the responses available!
“Every day, people are denied access to something they have a right to.”
That’s the opening line from a new appeal from students Joe McArthur and David Carroll. Open Access describes a form of publication of research where articles are made instantly available for free, and with unlimited reusability rights, as long as the source is attributed. There are many pseudo-open access ‘definitions’ out there from publishers to obfuscate its use, but this is the only real, least restrictive one.
There has been a global open access movement over the last 10-15 years, which has accelerated so rapidly in the last year or two that many research funders and institutions, as well as government bodies, have developed open access policies. However, despite this progress, large commercial publishers like Wiley, Taylor and Francis, and Elsevier are still the most profitable industry in the world (with margins even higher than Apple), the majority of their profits coming from obscene charges for pdfs and library subscriptions for research articles and journals.
Inspired by Martin Eve, I decided to make a documentation of academic-related stuff I’ve achieved in 2013. The last year was mostly occupado by the first year of my PhD, but other academic-ish stuff too as complimentary activities to research. This is kinda like a personal diary of ‘achievements’, as well as a documentation of the extent of work-procrastination. As such, please feel free not to share this with my supervisor 😉