Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Alma Swan's new blog

Alma Swan has launched a blog, OptimalScholarship, which is bound to cover OA issues frequently and well.  Alma is one of the principals of Key Perspectives and one of the most prolific and data-oriented researchers into the state of OA and author attitudes toward it.  I've often cited her work in this blog.

From her inaugural post:

I've arrived! No, I'm not announcing my entry onto the blogging scene - though this is the inaugural posting. I'm referring to the description of me by a publishing industry representative, David Worlock, as both 'a fundamentalist' and 'shrill'. And what they say is that if people who disagree with you start calling you names, then they are taking you seriously.

Now first, let me say that I really like the 'fundamentalist' bit. I have always strived to avoid the superficial, speculative and emotional end of the spectrum and to base the views that I hold on facts, so far as I am able. So yes, I do fundamentalism. The 'shrill' label sits less easily, though. By the way, David was writing a critique of my recent invited essay for American Scientist on how Open Access can advance science. He was doing so in an article for Outsell Insights, a publication from Outsell Inc., for whom he is a senior researcher, that sells to the publishing industry.

So, let's examine 'shrill'. I was asked in my essay to define the ways in which Open Access advances science and there I was, thinking that I'd done so in moderated terms, supporting each point I was making with good data and reasoned argument. I detailed four ways in which science is advanced by Open Access: it enables greater visibility and, as a result, impact; it moves science along more quickly; it enables new 'Web 2.0' semantic technologies to work on scientific output, generating new knowledge by data-mining and text-mining scientific output in the vast single information space that Open Access provides; and it enables new tools that can measure impact and effectiveness in brand new ways, a boon to research managers and funders across the world. Shrill? I don't think so....

Worlock goes on to talk more about the marketplace, including pointing out that there are 'only' 2500 open access journals "though BioMed Central is in process of launching some more". Actually, it's bigger and more important than Worlock makes out. He paints a picture of near-stagnation, but things are moving fast. As predicted, a number of smaller publishers are now planning to move aggressively into the open access space, predominantly, but not solely, with article-processing-charge models. Yes, BioMed Central is in the process of 'launching some more', as Worlock puts it, though it would be more accurate to say that it is launching two whole new services - Chem Central and PhysMath Central - with a host of new journals in those disciplines. And Bentham, until now a subscription-based publisher, is about to project 300 new open access journals, across many disciplines, into the fray....

PS:  Welcome to the blogosphere, Alma!