David Worlock | Developing digital strategies for the information marketplace | Supporting the migration of information providers and content players into the networked services world of the future.
A sudden thought. Doing an interview with some consultants yesterday (we are fast approaching the season when some major STM assets will come back into the marketplace) I was asked where I had estimated Open Access would be now when I had advised the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee back in 2007 on the likely penetration of this form of article publishing. Around 25%, I answered. Well, responded the gleeful young PhD student on the end of the telephone, our researches show it to be between 5-7%. Now, I am not afraid of being wrong (like most forecasters, I have plenty of experience of it!). But it is good to know why and I suspect that I have been writing about those reasons for the last two years. Open Access, defined around the historic debate twixt Green and Gold, when Quixote Harnad tilted at publishers waving their arms like windmills, is most definitely over. Open is not, if by that we begin to define what we mean by Open Data, or indeed Open Science. But Open Access is now open access. In part this reflects the changing role of the Article. Once the place of publisher solace as the importance of low impact journals declined, it is now the vital source of the things that make science tick – metadata, data, abstracting, cross-referencing, citation, and the rest. It is now in danger of becoming the rapid act at the beginning of the process which initiates the absorption of new findings into the body of science. Indeed some scientists (Signalling Gateway provided examples years ago) prefer simply to have their findings cited – or release their data for scrutiny by their colleagues. Dr Donald Cooper of the University of Colorado, Boulder, used F1000Research to publish a summary of data collected in a study that investigated the effect of ion channels on reward behavior in mice .In response to public referee comments he emphasized that he published his data set in F1000Research 'to quickly share some of our ongoing behavioral data sets in order to encourage collaboration with others in the field'. (http://f1000.com/resources/Open-Science-Announcement.pdf) I have already indicated how important I think post-publication peer review will be in all of this. So let me now propose a four-stage Open Science 'publication process' for your consideration ..."