Every week I receive several emails from publishers that invite me to submit an article to their journal. I am convinced that the same happens to many of you as well. Frankly, I am getting very tired of this - the reason why this happens is not that these journals are approaching us because of what we do or who we are. It is all about money. Under the umbrella of 'our journal is Open Access' publishers have found a new way to generate income by lobbying hard for our manuscripts. For which of course we need to pay to get them published. Today I received another invitation from MDPI AG Publishers (Basel, Switzerland) which triggered me to do a bit of research...
The article below was published in Index on Censorship on 30 August 2012. Click here for the online version.
For most of us, it’s entirely logical that medical practitioners should be familiar with the latest scientific knowledge and evidence-based practices in order to treat ailments. This forms our fundamental basis of trust in medical professionals. If your doctor suggests a CT scan or drug X, you follow that advice on the basis of trust. So how would you feel if your doctor confesses that he lacks the latest scientific information about your condition?
This week, Harvard School of Public Health's Associate Professor Winston Hide made a courageous move: he resigned from being the associate editor of the journal Genomics (an Elsevier journal). Why? Because he could no longer accept the inability of scientists in developing countries to access full articles stuck behind paywalls thrown up by publishers. A bold and remarkable step. He published the rationale for making this decision this week in the Guardian.
A new website has just been launched where people can tell their personal stories on how they have benefitted from access to research, or suffered from the lack of it. The new site is called Who needs access? You need access? has been developed by Mike Taylor who is an active member of the @ccess community. Its goal is to tell stories of many different kinds of people — teachers, doctors, artists, politicians, entrepreneurs — who need access to research papers.
This month was the 10th anniversary of the Budapest Open Access Initiative, considered by many as the start of the open access movement. In the past 10 years the term open access has come to mean a lot of different things. Publishers have been giving this label to very different kinds of open access. In many cases reading of the articles is all that is allowed but reuse and redistribution are often strictly forbidden. This is in marked contrast to the original definition of Open Access by the BOAI: