Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Important fossil finding published in an OA journal

James Randerson, The palaeontologist who brought fossil Ida to the world, The Guardian, May 19, 2009.  Excerpt:

...There will be some raised eyebrows in the scientific establishment that [Jørn Hurum] did not opt to publish the scientific description of Ida in either Science or Nature, widely regarded as the two most prestigious scientific journals in the world. Instead he and his team chose...PLoS ONE, an online open-access journal that does not charge people to read its papers.  [PS:  The paper is here.]

Hurum said the main reason was to ensure that as many people as possible have the opportunity to read the paper. "I'm paid by the tax payers of Norway to do this research. I'm not paid by Nature or Science and still they charge money for other people to read my scientific results," he says. "This fossil really is part of our history, truly a fossil that's a world heritage. A find like this is something for all human kind." ...

Comment.  Will anyone really raise their eyebrows at this?  Good journals are made good by good articles, not the other way around.  There's even a trend --among scientists as well as journals-- to provide OA to results which are especially important, on the principle that the more knowledge matters, the more open access to that knowledge matters.  If the conjectured eyebrow-raising is not from disapproval, but merely surprise that Hurum didn't seek the prestige of a Science or Nature publication, one only has to reflect that discoveries like this one carry their own prestige, far greater than the prestige any journal could provide.  Kudos to Hurum and his five co-authors for choosing OA.