Choosing a journal for the neck-posture paper: why open access is important | Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week

peter.suber's bookmarks 2022-12-23


"Open access. Assuming that a PDF exists, who can get it and under what terms?  Under the classical model, publishers own your work, and can — and do — restrict access to it.  To see what you wrote, other scientists, and interested amateurs, have to either have an institutional subscription or pay some ludicrously inflated fee like $30.  (I wonder whether anyone in world history has ever done this?)  See Scott Aaronson’s rather brilliant article for more on this extraordinary state of affairs.

In contrast, an increasing number of journals are now open access, which means that anyone, anywhere can download the PDF with minimum fuss and at no cost.  Acta Palaeontologia Polonica is one of these, and was among the first in palaeo.  Other notable journals in this category include PLoS Biology and PLoS ONE, and Zootaxa.  If you’re prepared to wait a year before your paper becomes open access (i.e. wait until everyone who’s interested has long had a copy and all the buzz has died down so that no-one cares any more), then the list of open access journals grows to include venues like Science and Proc. B, but personally I am inclined to feel that this is stretching the definition well past breaking point.  There are good and valid reasons for wanting to publish in these venues, but their open-access-but-not-in-any-way-that-matters policy is not one of them.

There are (at least) two reasons to favour open-access journals: the pragmatic one is that it’s the best way to make sure that anyone, anywhere in the world who’s interested in your work can get it — whether professor, curator, student, interested amateur or vaguely interested high-school kid.  The other reason is that it’s just right.  We’re talking here about the world’s accumulated knowledge, in many cases acquired by publicly funded research programs.  It is simply and plainly wrong that this work should be shut up behind paywalls where the people who paid for it can’t see it...."



12/23/2022, 07:22

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Date tagged:

12/23/2022, 12:22

Date published:

06/01/2009, 08:22