Scientists (Trying) To Tear Down Publishers Walls
by Adam Robbert
A great article on open access publishing and the sciences HERE. Needless to say I’m fully behind this, especially this bit:
We’re mired in a system that wastes taxpayers’ money and unnecessarily restricts the flow of new knowledge. We scientists would like our journals to be “open access” – with the door of the journal’s website always open so anyone can visit and download our articles.
The largely for-profit publishing system particularly galls because we scientists do most of the work, but the publishers make all the money. For most journals, scientists not only write all the manuscripts submitted to them, but also vet and edit all these manuscripts before they are published – the peer-review process – all without receiving a cent for their services.
In a free market, one would expect lower-cost publishers to eventually win the day. But scientists, and the administrators who assess us, are so attached to the prestige of the older journal titles that new journals typically don’t get much traction.
A metric called “impact factor” is used as an indicator for the prestige of the journal that articles are published in, and used by administrators as a measure of the quality of our work.
This is not a good way to assess research quality, yet here in Australia the government has unfortunately made it part of the Excellence in Research for Australia scheme for deciding how much to fund each university. This makes us even more beholden to the publishers that own the prestigious journal titles.
At the end of the day, the move to open access is inevitable. Its just a matter of time so we might as well make the necessary adjustments now folks.