Sunday, 10 June 2012

Will there be an Academic Spring?

It seems that we have our own version of the Arab Spring among academics, known as the Academic Spring, a revolt against the monopoly held by a few publishing companies on the publication of knowledge, behind pay-walls that are becoming increasingly expensive..

It all grew from this blogpost by mathematician Timothy Gowers which went viral earlier in the year and spread way beyond mathematics..this was picked up by a maths PhD student who created The Cost of Knowledge, a site that enabled other academics and researchers to post their protests..on the site their is a massive list of over 12,000 academics who.....
  • won't publish
  • won't referee
  • won't do editorial work
The publishing whole machine is pretty bizarre if you think about it...we assess papers, go on committees, write book reviews, even serve as Editors  for the big publishing companies but get paid absolutely nothing..where else would this happen?

Open Access is gaining ground...the Gold lines below represent normal Open Access Journals, the Green represent publications in University repositories, also open for public view..Green Open Access publications are deposited after publication in traditional journals..

File:OA by Discipline.png

One of the major Open Acess journal is PLos:One

heres a blurb on their publishing concept..

Each submission will be assessed by a member of the PLoS ONE Editorial Board before publication. This pre-publication peer review will concentrate on technical rather than subjective concerns and may involve discussion with other members of the Editorial Board and/or the solicitation of formal reports from independent referees. If published, papers will be made available for community-based open peer review involving online annotation, discussion, and rating.[8]

Articles are still peer reviewed but the main quality control is technical and Editors attempt to avoid baseing publication on perceived importance of the subject or content of research..

The problem, of course, lies in the fact that if you chose not to publish in traditional journals and publish instead in Open Access are you threatening your career..no Impact Factor, no way of being judged on your performance each year ? ..what do you think?

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