Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Quick survey of OA

Ronald Bailey, News Ages Quickly: Scientific publishing moves into the 21st century at last, Reason Online, July 3, 2007. 

Bailey opens with some historical perspective:

Arguably, the Information Age began in 1665. That was the year the Journal des scavans and Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London started regular publication. Making new scientific information more easily and widely available was the spark that ignited the Industrial Revolution.  The founding editor of the Journal des scavans, Denis de Sallo, chose to publish his new journal weekly because, as he explained, "news ages quickly." Scientific news ages even more quickly in the 21st century than it did in the 17th century....

Then he reviews some major OA initiatives (arXiv, PubMed Central, BioMed Central, SPARC, DOAJ, the NIH policy, and Nature Precedings) and concludes:

As Ginsparg noted eleven years ago at a UNESCO conference on the future of electronic publishing, "in some fields of physics, the on-line electronic archives immediately became the primary means of communicating ongoing research information, with conventional journals entirely supplanted in this role." Science, Nature, and Cell have nothing to worry about if it turns out that open access and pre-print websites don't attract cutting edge articles. On the other hand, it a good bet that opening access and speeding research to the public via online archives will accelerate scientific and technological progress just as their 17th century precursors did.