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DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: derekb.lowe@gmail.com Twitter: Dereklowe

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May 10, 2012

The UK Goes Open-Access

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Posted by Derek

More disruption in the scientific publishing model: the UK government has announced that it will set up an open-access system for papers that are generated through its funding, similar to the system in the US. The details are still being worked out, and the government is still making noises about not "ruining the value provided by academic publishers", but it's that value that's at issue, isn't it?

A statement from Wiley said that "Publishers enable content digitisation, rigorous peer review, strong editorial infrastructure and support and investment in an effective online platform for dissemination." And yes, they do those things. But how well do they do them? And how well do they do them for the prices they charge? I'm glad that these arguments are finally out on the table.

Comments (6) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: The Scientific Literature


COMMENTS

1. Anonymous on May 10, 2012 9:47 AM writes...

Good news.

Will be interesting to see how they go about it.

Here's the original article from the Guardian too

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/may/01/open-free-access-academic-research

The comments section is quite entertaining if a little odd. Wasn't the kind of comments I expected really.

This one is definitely my favourite

"This is a attempt to privatise knowledge and squeeze the last remnants of dissident thought out of the system."

Not sure how someone came to that conclusion.

Permalink to Comment

2. NJBiologist on May 10, 2012 11:22 AM writes...

"A statement from Wiley said that 'Publishers enable content digitisation, rigorous peer review, strong editorial infrastructure and support and investment in an effective online platform for dissemination.'"

Not so much. It's the authors who are on the hook to provide digital text files and camera-ready files for all images. From that point, a first-year design student with a copy of Quark XPress could do the rest of the formatting in about five minutes.

Permalink to Comment

3. Watson on May 10, 2012 6:20 PM writes...

@2 I disagree that a first-year design student would have the skills necessary to format a typical review document into something that conveys the science and compels the eye.

This is particularly true when it comes to the fine points of typesetting mathematics, but then, how many articles incorporate maths anymore?

I remember being impressed with the quality of Der Spiegel when I travelled in Germany many years ago. Not that Der Spiegel is what most of us here would consider a "journal". But the quality of the presentations of statistical material and ability to focus the reader on the take-away message was something I find lacking in most scientific journals, with the exception of Nature and Science.

Permalink to Comment

4. Experienced Chemist on May 11, 2012 12:37 AM writes...

This is definitely a right decision. Right now the subscription fee for some journals is skyrocketing. Many institutes couldn't afford to subscribe these highly prestigious. Some crucial scientific results could not be read worldwide. You may wonder why so many people are doing science every day if your research can't be shared by others. I mean not shared by everybody. Science should be serve for the whole society not just the priviledged community. I remember long time I ofter write a letter to the authors asking them to send me thier manuscripts. That's the situation almot 2 decades ago. Not the situation is quite different mainly due to the internet technology. Nobody needs to write and mail a letter to ask for a paper anymore. You just need to send an e-mail and normally will get a copy of PDF format of the papers you are interested. My point here is if all the papers could be open accessed, then the whole world will be benefited. This will not affect the quality of any publications. Good papers are still be good papers. Top notch results can still be published in the first grade journals. The only difference is there journals are free to access. This sounds like a socialism system. Then the question is who is going to handle the publishers' work. It is easy to say the research is funded by federal grants. This situation will not change. But most of the publishers are for profit organizations. If they don't charge enough money for their service. Not only will they become bankrupt, their quality will never be improved, probably. Only with competition for profits, that's the real driving force behind the improvement. The only resouce for publisher is from subscription fee. How to avoid this dead end situation? How about the author paying the publishing fee? That sounds a nightmare. Whoever wants to publish their results doesn't want to be charged. It not fair either for author to publish a paper. This might result in a lack of passion for publishing. Whenever you will publish a paper, you will need to consider an extra fee. That will be a headache. Right now all the top notch journals are soliciting the worldclass scholars to send their manusripts. The competition is high. But still when people consider their publication, they will choose the journal with highest quality first. Of course everyone wants a paper in Nature or Science. But that will be different story. I mean you could choose the best journal with a possibility to take your work. Having said that much, I do agree that the current situation is not sustainable. Some journals are just too expensive. Not many people could afford to subscribe them. If the cost is lowered, then more and more people will have access to them. I am a passionate reader who read many scientific journals, but only through work place. Is it nice if I can also read the journals at home? The problem it is not cheap for me to subscribe the journal from my own pocket. What if the fee is just like a meal? Then prpbable I would book many journals on line so I can read them anytime. Overall, I am hoping there will be an agreement between publishers, readers and law makers. There should be a mutual agreement to satisfy all three parties.

Permalink to Comment

5. Lucy on May 11, 2012 4:11 AM writes...

This is great news! Chemistry in particular should benefit as we seem to be far behind the other disciplines in this area.

Perhaps the start of the long-awaited "Chemistry Spring"?


Permalink to Comment

6. dearieme on May 11, 2012 5:02 PM writes...

"Not sure how someone came to that conclusion."
We stopped taking the Guardian when we realised what a large proportion of its readership was bonkers.

Permalink to Comment

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