Open Access: sometimes all it takes is the right person

We can debate the economics, complexities, details, implementation… of open access publishing for as long as we like. However, the basic principle: that publicly-funded research should be publicly-accessible seems to me at least, very obviously correct and “the right thing to do”.

So this, from April 2012, was very depressing.

Open access not as simple as it sounds: outgoing ARC boss

For those outside Australia, the ARC is the Australian Research Council. Much debate ensued in which one contributor to the comment thread wrote:

…it is particularly galling that Sheil is projecting her own simplistic understanding of open access onto its advocates. Hopefully she will be replaced at the Australian Research Council by someone who understands and supports open access.

VoilĂ .

The ARC has introduced a new open access policy for ARC funded research which takes effect from 1 January 2013. According to this new policy the ARC requires that any publications arising from an ARC supported research project must be deposited into an open access institutional repository within a twelve (12) month period from the date of publication.

I did giggle at the assumption that the author’s version of their article is by default a Word document, but then I guess that’s true for > 90% of authors.

Outcomes like this come dangerously close to restoring hope.

A small achievement

Moving to a new group and a new project is always difficult. However, one of the better aspects of being a bioinformatician is that you can often contribute to other projects – which can be a bonus when your own are not progressing so well.

I’m happy to announce:

Thakur, A.S., Robin, G., Guncar, G., Saunders, N.F.W., Newman, J., Martin, J.L. and Kobe, B. (2007). Improved Success of Protein Crystallization Sparse Matrix Screening with Heterogeneous Nucleating Agents. PLoS ONE 2:e1091. Open Access

My contribution was very minor; some writing and a little statistical evaluation (although the method that I had in mind didn’t make it to the final version). The take-home message is: if your protein won’t crystallise, try throwing some dried seaweed into the mix! It’s not ground-breaking stuff but it’s solid enough, so we decided it was ideal for PLoS ONE, which gives us the added warmth and fuzziness of supporting OA publishing.