Open Access + Social Media = Competitive Advantage 2012-06-01


In competition, being as good as your opponent gets you nowhere. You have to be better.” Curt Rice sounds like a coach giving a pre-game pep talk to his team, but the Pro Rector for Research at the University of Tromsø (Norway) and Head of the Board for the national organization Current Research Information System in Norway, is talking about publishing science in open access. ‘Some still think that open access publications have problems of quality control,’ as if the term “open” meant anyone can publish anything they like. ‘A lot of discussion has been to tell researchers that the quality control of open access is as good as in the traditional publication system.’ But this, says Rice, is missing the point. What OA advocates should be talking about is developing a system that takes the core goals of scientific publication – critique by expert colleagues and transmission of results to a variety of users – and does them better. How can open access outperform its tenacious, institutionalized competition, the traditional top-tier journals? Perhaps through its intimate relationship with social media... This potential for Twitter and the blogosphere to strengthen open access, is what Digital Humanities researcher Melissa Terras hoped to show with an experiment she started in October 2011. Her project to promote her research articles via Twitter (@melissaterras) and blog posts made clear the concrete benefits for the scholar, specifically, of pairing open access and social media. As a University College London researcher, a number of her publications could be found in the institution’s open access archive, Discovery... Terras decided to make all 26 of her academic articles available, and to promote each of them via Twitter and with a related blog post... Terras saw the same phenomenon: an average of 70 downloads per paper, within 24 hours.... Today, her articles are among the most viewed in the repository of any from her department... Dr. Terras... As General Editor of Digital Humanities Quarterly, an open access, online journal, she finds that, in addition to broadcasting the link to a new article, Twitter provides an excellent means for interacting with their readership. The journal (@DHQuarterly) has over 970 followers who provide feedback and ideas, respond to calls for reviewers, and even notify editorial staff if the journal’s server goes down. Expanding the online, often participatory offerings also makes for a more well rounded publication by offering different types of communication: debates, op-ed pieces and the like.  It is here, in the increased and open communication surrounding research, that Curt Rice(@curtrice), linguist by training, OA advocate, and blogger, sees a role for social media in the competitive advantage of open access. ‘Because there’s more discussion, more communication, more informal review that is publicly available and follows a research article, you get a web community of professionals that forms around your journal site.’  But beyond the practical benefits for publishers, Dr. Rice feels that social media and open access, together, provide an even more fundamental service for science and society by way of greater transparency. “Peer review is extremely opaque. It’s pseudo-objective because fields are so small and specialized” that the supposed anonymity of the process is impossible to maintain... Even if young, Twitter-savvy academics would be happy to post their work openly on the web, their careers – their funding and future promotions – depend on publishing in prestigious, traditional journals. How can we ever escape from this system? In a top-down solution, funding bodies like the NIH can mandate that research they fund be made available in an openly accessible archive. In a bottom-up approach, scientists can learn to accord the same prestige to OA journals that they do to traditional journals... Getting established scholars to lead the way in publishing in a new OA journal is part of the recipe, but ‘being answerable on social media helps…Discussions tend to be more immediate and people are more reachable, more approachable, more contactable.’  This accountability, provided by social media, makes open access even more open: a unique advantage over the traditional system of scientific publication...”


From feeds:

Open Access Tracking Project (OATP) »

Tags: oa.business_models oa.publishers oa.comment oa.open_science oa.peer_review oa.crowd oa.usage oa.quality oa.social_media oa.twitter oa.prestige oa.blogs oa.norway oa.repositories oa.journals

Date tagged:

06/01/2012, 14:54

Date published:

06/01/2012, 10:54