The virus is reminding us that the purpose of scholarly communication is not to allocate credit for career advancement, and neither is it to keep publishers afloat. Scholarly communication is about, well, scholars communicating with each other, to share insights for the benefit of humanity. And whilst we’ve heard all this before, in a time of crisis we realise afresh that this isn’t just rhetoric, this is reality.Below the fold, a few comments.
Gadd is right both when she describes the "two buts" that have stymied progress to open access ever since the Budapest declaration:
And when she advocates for funder-based publishing platforms:
- But what about publishers and scholarly societies? How do we ensure they survive and that the economy isn’t damaged? (Subtext: publications are for profit)
- But what about academic careers? A good publication list is critical for promotion and tenure. (Subtext: publications are for credit).
UKRI have been throwing money (about £150 million by my estimate) at funding eye-watering Article Processing Charges with haute couture journals for seven years. This is money that could have been used for actual life-saving research.It has been obvious for many years that the funders are the only ones who can make open access a reality, by removing researchers' choice about how to publish their research. Preserving UK researchers' ability to spend other people's money on polishing their resume by publishing in "haute couture" journals isn't worth £21.5M/yr.
UKRI need to set up a funder-based publishing platform and say to recipients, if you want our money, publish your findings here. End of.
This is not a new idea, but a proven technology. Gates Open Research is a great example. Despite not being the only publication option for Gates Foundation recipients, the papers published in Gates Open Research are achieving a cites-per-paper rate on a par with the world average for medicine. Similarly, Wellcome Open Research is on a par with top quartile journals in both biochemistry and medicine in terms of it’s Scimago Journal Rank.