Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Sunday, April 20, 2008

What individual researchers can do

Kevin McCurley, Open Access Publishing, Special Interest Group on CRAP, April 18, 2008.  Excerpt:

I recently declined to referee a paper for a closed-access journal. This particular case was an ACM journal, which is one of the least objectionable of the closed-access publishers, but it still bugs me that we continue to turn over science to people who then sell it back to scientists. This does not benefit science.

I’ve been trying to think about what would be the best way to advance the open access publishing movement. I could try to contribute software and services (since these are real costs), or I could try to organize a journal myself, or I could run for office in ACM, or various other things. At some level, I think those of us who believe in open access publishing need to push on every front in order to change the status quo. The place to start is probably to direct your activities (reviewing, reading, editing, submitting, and citing) toward open access publishers. By refusing to referee something for a commercial publisher, you send a notice to the editor that you prefer they would spend their time on open access publishing as well, and you may serve to increase the backlog in these closed-access publications. The next thing we can do is work to restructure our academic societies around community and support of science rather than managing intellectual property. Usenix recently set the best example I can think of in this way, and other societies should look to their leadership as a shining example.

Comment.  Kevin right that individual researchers should start with OA for their own work.  Either publish it in a suitable OA journal or deposit a copy of the peer-reviewed postprint in an OA repository.  Remember that the second option is usually compatible with publishing in a non-OA journal.  For more, see six things that researchers need to know about open access and what faculty can to do promote open access.