Monday, 3 September 2012

2012 - The Year of Open Access

This year will be remembered as the year that Open Access went mainstream. This whole movement represents a significant change in the field of science. It has led to a widespread realisation that closed access publishers by definition do not have scientists' interests at heart (maximum dissemination of their work) along with a recognition that scientists needs to engage with the wider community, not just their peers in ivory towers. In the end, it all came down to the funders.

For my own part, over the past number of years I have become increasingly convinced that all scientific work should be freely available and preferably Open Access, CC-BY* and copyright me (hey - if I'm going to pay, I want it AALLLLLL!!). I want people to read my work and I want people to be free to remix and reuse it in any way they want - this is the essence of this thing we call science. Burying work in non-OA journals, or worse still in books that few will have access to let alone read, seems to me to be a baaad idea, and especially so now that the writing is on the wall (not literally of course, it's usually on the web).

Others have recounted the events so far this year but here they are again:
Jan - The year started at a low point, a motion in the US to repeal the NIH's public access policy, the Research Works Act. It turned out that Elsevier were behind this.
Feb - After a major outcry, and Tim Gower's announcement that he would boycott Elsevier (subsequently supported by 12K others), Elsevier dropped the bill.
Jun - The Wellcome Trust starts cracking the whip on its OA compliance (only 55% of funded publications were compliant). In future, non-compliance will mean grant money will be withheld, and non-compliant publications will be ignored for the purposes of applying for further funding. Furthermore, publications must be effectively CC-BY.
Jul - The Research Councils of the UK (RCUK) mandate OA, and specifically CC-BY.
Jul - The EU is talking about mandating OA for the 2014-2020 framework funding.
Aug - Wiley announces that its OA journals will now adopt CC-BY.

Historic times. For more, see this link.

*Note: CC-BY is a copyright license developed by the Creative Commons. It's very simple. It means you can legally do whatever you want with the article, so long as you acknowledge the copyright holder. For more info, see the license.

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