Richard Poynder
Richard Poynder - Independent Journalist
Richard Poynder
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Richard Poynder is an independent journalist and blogger specialising in information technology, scholarly communication, professional online database services, open science, e-Science, and intellectual property. Richard takes a particular interest in the Open Access movement, whose development he has been following for more than a decade. More information is available here.

Three interviews with Richard Poynder — here, here and here

Interview Series: The State of Open Access

Recent Articles and Interviews

The Open Access Interviews: Justin Flatt on the Self-Citation Index
(Open & Shut?, Wednesday, September 06, 2017)

In a recently published paper, Justin Flatt and his two co-authors proposed the creation of the Self-Citation Index, or s-index. The purpose of the s-index would be to measure how often a scientist cites their own work. This is desirable the authors believe because current incentive systems tend to encourage researchers to cite their own works excessively.

In other words, since the number of citations a researcher’s works receive enhances his/her reputation there is a temptation to add superfluous self-citations to articles. This boosts the authors’ h-index – the author-level metric now widely used as a measure of researcher productivity. Read more »


The Open Access Interviews: Rusty Speidel, The Center for Open Science
(Open & Shut?, Tuesday, August 29, 2017)

The Center for Open Science (COS) has announced today that six new preprint services have launched using COS’ preprints platform, taking the number of such services to 14.

The announcement comes at a time when we are seeing a rising tide of preprint servers being launched, both by for-profit and non-profit organisations – a development all the more remarkable given scholarly publishers’ historic opposition to preprint servers. Indeed, so antagonistic to such services have publishers been that until recently they were often able to stop them in their tracks. Read more »


The State of Open Access: Some New Data
(Open & Shut?, Thursday, August 03, 2017)

A preprint posted on PeerJ yesterday offers some new insight into the number of articles now available on an open-access basis.

The new study is different to previous ones in a number of ways, not least because it includes data from users of Unpaywall, a browser plug-in that identifies papers that researchers are looking for, and then checks to see whether the papers are available for free anywhere on the Web. Read more »


On sponsorship, transparency, scholarly publishing, and open access
(Open & Shut?, Monday, July 17, 2017)

Sponsorship in the research and library communities is pervasive today, and scholarly publishers are some of the most generous providers of it. This generosity comes at a time when scholarly communication is in sore need of root-and-branch reform. However, since publishers' interests are no longer aligned with the needs of the research community, and they have a vested interest in the legacy system, the research community might be best to avoid publisher sponsorship. Yet researchers and librarians seek it out on a daily basis. Read more »


The Open Access Interviews: Jutta Haider
(Open & Shut?, Tuesday, May 09, 2017)

Many of us join causes and movements at different times in our lives, if only because we like to feel part of something bigger than ourselves, and because most of us have a healthy desire to improve the world. Unfortunately, movements often fail to achieve their objectives, or their objectives are significantly watered down – or lost sight of – along the way. Sometimes they fail completely. Read more »


The OA interviews: Philip Cohen, founder of SocArXiv
(Open & Shut?, Monday, March 13, 2017)

Fifteen years after the launch of the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI) the OA revolution has yet to achieve its objectives. It does not help that legacy publishers are busy appropriating open access, and diluting it in ways that benefit them more than the research community. As things stand we could end up with a half revolution.

But could a new development help recover the situation? More specifically, can the newly reinvigorated preprint movement gain sufficient traction, impetus, and focus to push the revolution the OA movement began in a more desirable direction? Read more »


Copyright: the immoveable barrier that open access advocates underestimated
(Open & Shut?, Monday, February 20, 2017)

In calling for research papers to be made freely available open access advocates promised that doing so would lead to a simpler, less costly, more democratic, and more effective scholarly communication system.

To achieve their objectives they proposed two different ways of providing open access: green OA (self-archiving) and gold OA (open access publishing). Read more »


The NIH Public Access Policy: A triumph of green open access?
(Open & Shut?, Friday, January 20, 2017)

There has always been a contradiction at the heart of the open access movement. Let me explain.

The Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI) defined open access as being the:

"free availability [of research papers] on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited."
Read more »


Open access and Africa
(Open & Shut?, Wednesday, December 28, 2016)

In November I reported that PLOS CEO Elizabeth Marincola is leaving the open access publisher in order to take up a position as Senior Advisor for Science Communication and Advocacy at an African organisation.

At the time, PLOS said it could not say exactly where Marincola was going as it had to wait until the organisation concerned had held its board meeting in December. Read more »


PLOS CEO steps down as publisher embarks on "third revolution"
(Open & Shut?, Monday, November 21, 2016)

On 31st October, PLOS sent out a surprise tweet saying that its CEO Elizabeth Marincola is leaving the organisation for a new job in Kenya. Perhaps this is a good time to review the rise of PLOS, put some questions to the publisher, and consider its future.

PLOS started out in 2001 as an OA advocacy group. In 2003, however, it reinvented itself as an open access publisher and began to launch OA journals like PLOS Biology and PLOS Medicine. Read more »


Institutional Repositories: Response to comments
(Open & Shut?, Wednesday, October 05, 2016)

The introduction I wrote for the recent Q&A with Clifford Lynch has attracted some commentary from the institutional repository (IR) and open access (OA) communities. I thank those who took the time to respond. After reading the comments the following questions occurred to me.

Read more »


Q&A with CNI's Clifford Lynch: Time to re-think the institutional repository?
(Open & Shut?, Thursday, September 22, 2016)

Seventeen years ago 25 people gathered in Santa Fe, New Mexico, to discuss ways in which the growing number of e-print servers and digital repositories could be made interoperable.

As scholarly archives and repositories had begun to proliferate a number of issues had arisen. There was a concern, for instance, that archives would needlessly replicate each other’s content, and that users would have to learn multiple interfaces in order to use them. Read more »


What quality controls are utilised by PLOS ONE when selecting reviewers? Who is deemed eligible?
(Open & Shut?, Monday, July 25, 2016)

In 2011, I expressed concern about the PLOS ONE business model and its associated review process. My worries were focused on the use of what some have called light or "lite" peer review, and the "pay-to-publish" system used by PLOS ONE (and now by many other publishers). My worries were subsequently recorded on the PLOS ONE Wikipedia page.

Read more »


SocArXiv debuts, as SSRN acquisition comes under scrutiny
(Open & Shut?, Tuesday, July 19, 2016)

The arrival of a new preprint server for the social sciences called SocArXiv comes just a month after news that Elsevier is acquiring the Social Science Research Network (SSRN), a preprint repository and online community founded in 1994 by two researchers.

Given the concern and disappointment expressed over the SSRN purchase by researchers, it is no surprise that the launch of SocArXiv has been very well received. Read more »


Open access and Brexit
(Open & Shut?, Wednesday, June 29, 2016)

The UK research community's response to the recent referendum – in which a majority of 52% voted for the UK to leave the European Union (or "Brexit") – has been one of horror and disbelief.

This is no surprise, not least because Brexit would have a serious impact on research funding in the UK. Nature reports that UK universities currently get around 16% of their research funding from the EU, and that the UK currently hosts more EU-funded holders of ERC grants than any other member state. Read more »


The OA Interviews: Michaël Bon, Founder of the Self-Journal of Science
(Open & Shut?, Monday, May 30, 2016)

"The OA movement has been fighting the wrong battle (all be it for a just cause), and for so long as it carries on doing so it will continue diverting and exhausting scientists and institutions in a fool’s game in which they have little power."

Fifteen months ago 35-year old French scientist Michaël Bon launched a new open-access publishing service called the Self-Journal of Science (SJS). Read more »


The Open Access Interviews: Sir Timothy Gowers, Mathematician
(Open & Shut?, Wednesday, April 20, 2016)

As the use of green open access policies looks increasingly like a failed strategy, and as universities, research funders, and governments in Europe seek to engineer a mass "flipping" of subscription journals to gold OA, has the open access movement reached a watershed moment?

If so, how will it develop from here, is it headed in the right direction, and who should be leading the way? Read more »


Michał Starczewski interviews Richard Poynder for the Otwarta Nauka site
(Open & Shut?, Friday, March 04, 2016)

I was asked recently by open science advocate and historian Michał Starczewski if I would do a Q&A on open access for the Otwarta Nauka site based at the University of Warsaw. Read more »


Why I won't be doing that video interview about open access
(Open & Shut?, Sunday, February 21, 2016)

Recently I was contacted by Library Journal (LJ) in connection with a series of video interviews it is conducting with open access "VIP's and leaders". The first interview – with the Director of Harvard University's Office for Scholarly Communication Peter Suber – has already been published. Would I have some time to do an interview myself, I was asked? The project is for a new section of LJ's web site sponsored by the open access publisher Dove Press.

Read more »


The OA Interviews: Kamila Markram, CEO and Co-Founder of Frontiers
(Open & Shut?, Saturday, February 06, 2016)

Based in Switzerland, the open access publisher Frontiers was founded in 2007 by Kamila and Henry Markram, who are both neuroscientists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne. Henry Markram is also director of the Human Brain Project.

A researcher-led initiative envisaged as being "by scientists, for scientists" the mission of Frontiers was to create a "community-oriented open access scholarly publisher and social networking platform for researchers." Read more »


The OA Interviews: Mikhail Sergeev, Chief Strategy Officer at Russia-based CyberLeninka
(Open & Shut?, Sunday, January 17, 2016)

While open access was not conceivable until the emergence of the Internet (and thus could be viewed as just a natural development of the network) the “OA movement” primarily grew out of a conviction that scholarly publishers have been exploiting the research community, not least by constantly increasing journal subscriptions. Read more »


The OA Interviews: Toma Susi, physicist, University of Vienna
(Open & Shut?, Wednesday, December 30, 2015)

Since the birth of the open access movement in 2002, demands for greater openness and transparency in the research process have both grown and broadened.

Today there are calls not just for OA to research papers, but (amongst other things) to the underlying data, to peer review reports, and to lab notebooks. We have also seen a new term emerge to encompass these different trends: open science. Read more »


The open access movement slips into closed mode
(Open & Shut?, Thursday, December 17, 2015)

In October 2003, at a conference held by the Max Planck Society (MPG) and the European Cultural Heritage Online (ECHO) project, a document was drafted that came to be known as the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities. Read more »


Open Access, Almost-OA, OA Policies, and Institutional Repositories
(Open & Shut?, Tuesday, December 01, 2015)

Many words have been spilt over the relative merits of green and gold open access (OA). It is not my plan to rehearse these again right now. Rather, I want to explore four aspects of green OA.

First, I want to discuss how many of the documents indexed in "open" repositories are in fact freely available, rather than on "dark deposit" or otherwise inaccessible. Read more »







About Richard Poynder
Blog: Open and Shut?
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Open Access Interviews
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Interview 3: Richard Poynder
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