Archive for July, 2012

Opening up publicly funded research – the questions David Willetts hasn’t answered

Monday, July 16th, 2012

Today the UK Science Minister David Willetts announced ‘plans to make publicly funded scientific research immediately available for anyone to read for free by 2014’. Research Councils UK also unveiled a new Open Access policy today that will apply to all of the publications which derive from work research funded by its members. This policy received less attention but may well have wider ramifications. It is also notably different to the one proposed by Willetts.

On the face of it this interest in, and endorsement of, Open access sounds like great news – who isn’t in favour of free dissemination of ideas? But, as I have already noted, the questions raised by discussions about Open Access are frequently obscured by the headlines. And this announcement raises some pretty significant questions:
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Some Thoughts on Open Access Publishing

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

photo: B4bees

Last week Graham Harman posted an interesting set of thoughts about the importance of open access publishing (here, here, here and here). I came to Harman’s comments via Stuart Elden’s comments here (Stuart has also posted links to some really good comments by Jo Van Every here and here). One of the important things that both Elden and Harman note is that the opportunity to move to blog postings for dissemination of work has much to do with context – both the career stage you are at and the national Higher Education ecosystem you work in. I don’t see much to argue with in either set of comments and Harman is right – we should aspire to knowledge being as available as possible. As an editor of Politics we have been keen to have a rolling set of our articles available outside the paywall for a limited period of time in recognition that this broadens the potential audience.

The exchange prompted me to finally jot down some things that I have been meaning to note about open access publishing. In short, I think there are some bits missing from the present discussion. (more…)