It’s Open Access Day. Mission: to broaden awareness and understanding of Open Access. Their approach: “synchro-blogging” – an attempt to get as many folks as possible to blog on the given topic at the same time.
So, to answer their questions:
- Why does Open Access matter to you?
- How did you first become aware of it?
- Why should scientific and medical research be an open-access resource for the world?
- What do you do to support Open Access, and what can others do?
OA is important for many reasons: go and read this by Jonathan Eisen instead of my rambling. One that stands out for me: it signals a fundamental change in the way that information is conveyed from writers to readers and an admission that the traditional publishing process is obsolete in the internet age. We live in a world where people expect instant, relevant information in the top 20 hits from a Google search and that expectation is transferring to science too. I don’t care how prestigious you think your journal is, or whether you see yourself as some kind of “guardian of knowledge”. I want information, I want it now and if you can’t deliver, I’m going somewhere else (*).
I honestly don’t remember, but it was some years ago. I suspect it was around the time that journals such as Nucleic Acids Research and Bioinformatics introduced an OA option for authors. I also remember quite vividly the appearance of BMC on the scene and thinking “now, this is different and exciting”.
Lots of reasons. (i) The world pays for the research and shouldn’t have to pay again to view the results. (ii) Scientists should be accountable – exactly what are we doing with your tax dollars? (iii) When information is free, many eyes can look at it and many eyes = more ideas than fewer eyes.
Hey, I’m just a postdoc – I don’t get to make influential decisions! That said, five of my last six publications are OA. Where possible, I try to submit to OA journals and I review papers for OA journals. Once in a while, I blog about OA and other “open science” issues.
What can others do? The same and more. Read blogs that cover OA – starting with Jonathan and Bora. Understand its philosophy. Promote it in public (blogs, wikis, FriendFeed). Make it the norm, not a novelty.
(*) OK, I work in a large, relatively-funded university which subscribes to most journals – so I won’t deny myself a non-OA article on principle. Others are less fortunate.