Saturday, February 08, 2014

How Open Access are you?

Open Science is not just the right thing for science, it is also just fun. It enables collaborations, quick solutions by working together with experts, and actually solving questions you had not planned on solving. Part of Open Science is about making it as easy as possible for others to extend your work. Does someone have to buy a full subscription to access your research, or spend 50 euro for your single paper? If you ask the author, you likely get a reprint, though some publishers are not happy about that. Furthermore, you may just need that paper now, and the author has a well-deserved holiday.

Interestingly, 100 years ago, paper publishing was the quickest and most efficient way to let the world know about your discoveries. Well, that was 100 years ago. Traditionally publishing has fallen behind, and is by now the slowest way to disseminate your discoveries. About anything is faster now. Hell, commonly giving the presentation is faster (which paper has not seen a conference contribution about that topic earlier?).

And then the sharing of the discovery. Can someone share your finding locally in a presentation? Can it be used in slides for a course? Again, you can ask and buy such permission with Closed Access publications. But it is just inefficient. This slow down costs a lot of money, that could be spent on new research instead.

So, when someone comes up with a way to make publishing more efficient, I welcome that. And to set a good example, I now try to publish Open Access myself as much as possible (and sometimes that goes wrong.) And, I also welcome incentives, even if small, to promote OA publishing. And that's what ImpactStory did with a nice, small award banner. And I'm happy that enough of my papers are available to get the gold award, though I have to cheat a bit with a few green access papers.

Also welcome is the improved ACS AuthorChoice program, which allows you to make past papers available under a CC-BY license. This allows me to fix mistakes from the past. More on that in a while...