This week I wrote on MalariaWorld about the constant email spamming by publishers to submit our manuscripts to them. After receiving yet another invitation today, this time from HINDAWI publisher (who constantly nag me by the way) I started thinking about the future of Open Access. When we started the MalariaWorld Journal, we wanted a journal with a focus on malaria where you don't pay to publish and don't pay to read, which we termed Open Access 2.0. The reasons for this were outlined in my other article this week but here I want to take this a step further and ask a simple question...why should we scientists, who have worked hard to get grants, do the science, analyse the data, and write up manuscripts pay for our work to be published by a publisher that wants to make profits? So perhaps it is time for Open Access 3.0?
open access 2.0
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?
While one in six humans lives in abject poverty, half the world’s people live in a state of knowledge deprivation, meaning that they cannot obtain
Apart from all the other arguments in favour of open access there may be two less obvious reasons to support it. These reasons are that it may contribute to better science by counter-acting the publication bias in the current publication system, and by discouraging selective publishing on the part of the author.
When students embark on research in the field of malaria they receive a pile of published articles from their supervisors to bring them up to speed. Great papers in Nature and Science, and students, for sure, hope that one day their names will appear in the list of authors on an article in one of these journals. Remember that feeling? I sure do. And did. But the world is changing...
If you work as a malaria researcher, you publish your work in professional magazines. To inform your colleagues around the world about your findings. And the higher (in terms of impact factor) the journal you publish in, the more your work will be valued. But what's more important, the contribution of the work towards solving the malaria problem or a high impact factor?