Richard Poynder is an independent journalist and blogger specialising in information technology,
scholarly communication, professional
online database services,
intellectual property. Richard takes a particular in interest in the
Open Access movement, whose development he has been following for more than a decade. More information is available here.
Recent Articles and Interviews
The Open Access Interviews: Johannes Fournier, speaking for the Global Research Council
(Open & Shut?, March 24, 2013)
During a two-day inaugural Global Summit on Merit Review held in Washington last May — which was organised by the US National Science Foundation (NSF) at the request of the White House Office of Science & Technology (OSTP) — a new organisation called the Global Research Council (GRC) came into being.
Explaining the rationale for the new organisation, NSF Director Subra Suresh said, “This global summit is the first step toward a more unified approach to the scientific process. Science can rise above economic and cultural differences to help develop trust and clear the path for agreements in other areas. Global scientific collaboration expands the pool of knowledge that belongs to everyone and serves as a tool to improve health, security and opportunity throughout the world. Good science anywhere is good for science everywhere.”
The first initiative of the GRC was to publish a Merit Review Statement. Released at the end of the Washington summit, this outlines a set of principles for assessing funding applications, including the need to provide expert assessment, transparency, impartiality, appropriateness, and confidentiality, as well as integrity and ethical consideration. Read more »
Rockefeller University Press: CC-BY is not essential for Open Access
(Open & Shut?, March 12, 2013)
The new Open Access (OA) policy that Research Councils UK (RCUK) plans to introduce on April 1st has proved highly controversial within the research community.
Some have expressed concern over its preference for Gold OA (OA publishing), and its concomitant disdain for Green OA (self-archiving). Others have been angered by its vacillating attitude towards the appropriate length for self-archiving embargoes.
But what may turn out to be the most divisive aspect of the new policy are its licensing requirements, notably its insistence that when RCUK-funded researchers embrace Gold OA, and pay an article-processing charge (APC), the publisher must make the paper available under a CC-BY licence. Read more »
The Open Access Interviews: Professor Jack Meadows
(Open & Shut?, February 28, 2013)
Photo provided by Dr Ramaiah
Any movement dedicated to changing long-established ways of doing things is likely to engender a heated debate, and a debate that inevitably produces polarised views. Thus it is with the Open Access (OA) movement.
But what is distinctive about the OA debate is that it has produced not a simple juxtaposition of those who support the old and those who support the new. It is more complex than that.
On one side of the OA rift, of course, are the traditional subscription publishers. They are determined to protect their business interests, and fearful that OA might threaten the high levels of profitability to which they have become accustomed. Read more »
Open Access: A Tale of Two Tables
(Open & Shut?, February 21, 2013)
In an article published recently by the American Institute of Biological Sciences, Colin Macilwain concludes “If the open-access story started as a battle between open-access advocates and publishers, it seems to have morphed into a feud between gold and green open access, which cuts out the publishers.”
There is something in what Macilwain says, although in truth there has always been disagreement within the OA movement, and sometimes bitter wrangling between those who espouse Green OA and those who espouse Gold OA.
But there is no doubt that the publication last year of the Finch Report has brought a new intensity to this inter-movement discord, particularly after the UK Minister of State for Universities and Science David Willetts accepted all bar one of the Finch recommendations — making the Finch view official UK government policy on OA. This saw Research Councils UK (RCUK) immediately introduce a new OA policy in order to comply with Finch, a policy that will come into effect on 1st April. Read more »
The OA Interviews: Ashry Aly of Ashdin Publishing
(Open & Shut?, January 17, 2013)
When in 2008 Jeffrey Beall — a metadata librarian at the University of Colorado Denver — began to receive spam email solicitations from unknown Open Access (OA) publishers he became concerned.
Issues of spam aside, Beall suspected that some of the companies that were bombarding him with invitations to pay them to publish a scholarly paper were little more than vanity publishers, intent not on publishing high-quality peer-reviewed journals, but on ensnaring unwary researchers into paying for a shoddy service.
The suspicion was that in some cases these publishers were effectively doing little more than dumping papers on the web with little or no peer review. Yet they were charging authors hundreds of dollars to do this. (And in some cases $1,000+). Read more »