Opening up science to the world:
Open Access and why it matters
Dr Jelena Aleksic
1. What is Open Access and why it matters
2. Current Open Access models
3. Open Access advocacy and innovations
Science: humanity’s biggest
collaborative effort

Basic building blocks of ideas
The practice of science

(CC: copyright Bernard Bill5)

Basic building blocks of ideas

(CC: copyright Yann)
The importance of scientific writing
and publishing

To travel across centuries, science needs to be
saved in written form
20th/21st century publishing
- Unprecedented quantity of science
- Needed to introduce more standardised
publishing and qu...
Traditional publishing model
- Scientific journals are commercial entities
- Scientists submit articles and publish for fre...
The problem with traditional
publishing

Only people with the
right journal
subscriptions can see
all the bricks
The Open Access idea
All public scientific
efforts should be
freely available
globally

(CC: copyright Azcolvin429)
This is a large scale question
1 million papers a year published in
biomedical sciences alone!

Some journals cost up to $...
Obvious problem of the traditional
model
Paywall

Prohibitively expensive for:

- Scientists from less well-off institutio...
Other less obvious problems
- 1 million papers a year in biological sciences
alone -> would be great to text mine! Can onl...
Open Access by discipline

(Gargouri et al 2012)
1. What is Open Access and why it matters
2. Current Open Access models
3. Open Access advocacy and innovations
Current Open Access models

Gold Access

Green Access
Gold Access model
- An open access take on traditional publishing
- Instead of relying on subscriptions for profit,
the jou...
Successful example
- BioMed Central
Spin-off from a publishing company
Publishes 258 open access journals
Currently owned ...
Gold Access problems
Prohibitively expensive publishing. Opens up
who can read the research, but restricts who can
actuall...
Green Access model
- Many publishers allow authors to publish some
version of their manuscript on their website
“preprint”...
Green Access pros
- Free access without paying submission fees
- Potential to subvert traditional publishing
- Well-off un...
Why isn’t everyone doing it?
- Very popular in some fields (almost all papers in
maths and physics are self-archived), but ...
The spectrum of open access

PLoS information sheet for understanding open access
1. What is Open Access and why it matters
2. Current Open Access models
3. Open Access advocacy and innovations
Ground-up initiatives
Researchers have been doing the following:
- Submitting papers to OA journals
- Self-archiving
- Ref...
Top-down initiatives
- Funding bodies are starting to demand that
papers made with their funding be open access
- Some uni...
PLoS (Public Library of Science)
Scientific community grassroots initiative.
7 peer reviewed journals
Uses gold model, but ...
Open Access button

(CC: copyright Open Access Button)
The future
Currently, around 25% of articles are available as
open access. What can we do to make that figure
higher?
- Lob...
Does OA go far enough?
- Most science papers are incomprehensible to all
but a few people. And even those few people
strug...
Discussion points
- Does everyone agree that OA is important?
- What’s included in OA? Just the paper? Data?
Images? Text?...
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Opening up science to the world: open access and why it matters

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This is a talk I did at the Cambridge Open Research group, discussing the pros and cons of different open access publication models

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Opening up science to the world: open access and why it matters

  1. 1. Opening up science to the world: Open Access and why it matters Dr Jelena Aleksic
  2. 2. 1. What is Open Access and why it matters 2. Current Open Access models 3. Open Access advocacy and innovations
  3. 3. Science: humanity’s biggest collaborative effort Basic building blocks of ideas
  4. 4. The practice of science (CC: copyright Bernard Bill5) Basic building blocks of ideas (CC: copyright Yann)
  5. 5. The importance of scientific writing and publishing To travel across centuries, science needs to be saved in written form
  6. 6. 20th/21st century publishing - Unprecedented quantity of science - Needed to introduce more standardised publishing and quality assessment - Gold standard: independent peer review - Papers became a standard unit of science
  7. 7. Traditional publishing model - Scientific journals are commercial entities - Scientists submit articles and publish for free - Scientists do peer review for free - Journals make money through subscriptions
  8. 8. The problem with traditional publishing Only people with the right journal subscriptions can see all the bricks
  9. 9. The Open Access idea All public scientific efforts should be freely available globally (CC: copyright Azcolvin429)
  10. 10. This is a large scale question 1 million papers a year published in biomedical sciences alone! Some journals cost up to $40,000 a year
  11. 11. Obvious problem of the traditional model Paywall Prohibitively expensive for: - Scientists from less well-off institutions - Start-ups, small businesses, innovators - Interested members of the public, eg: - Patients researching their own disease
  12. 12. Other less obvious problems - 1 million papers a year in biological sciences alone -> would be great to text mine! Can only do this with open access portion. - Science is meant to be reproducible - easier when papers and data are shared. - Duplication of effort and money wasted as a result.
  13. 13. Open Access by discipline (Gargouri et al 2012)
  14. 14. 1. What is Open Access and why it matters 2. Current Open Access models 3. Open Access advocacy and innovations
  15. 15. Current Open Access models Gold Access Green Access
  16. 16. Gold Access model - An open access take on traditional publishing - Instead of relying on subscriptions for profit, the journals instead charge the authors a submission fee (~£1000+ per paper) - For universities, this means that subscription fees can instead be used as submission fees.
  17. 17. Successful example - BioMed Central Spin-off from a publishing company Publishes 258 open access journals Currently owned by Springer p.s. Not to be mixed up with PubMed Central: A free full text archive of biomedical and life science journal literature (US NIH). Currently has 2.9 million articles which are free to access, mainly deposited directly by participating journals.
  18. 18. Gold Access problems Prohibitively expensive publishing. Opens up who can read the research, but restricts who can actually publish stuff. Works for well funded universities and disciplines, but not necessarily widely applicable. However: not all OA journals charge fees, and some do waive them.
  19. 19. Green Access model - Many publishers allow authors to publish some version of their manuscript on their website “preprint” = manuscript before peer review “postprint” = accepted manuscript after peer review - Green Access = authors depositing their own manuscripts online so that they can be accessed freely. Currently ~900,000 papers in ArXiv
  20. 20. Green Access pros - Free access without paying submission fees - Potential to subvert traditional publishing - Well-off universities can still pay subscription fees, but more individual papers accessible to people who couldn’t otherwise afford them
  21. 21. Why isn’t everyone doing it? - Very popular in some fields (almost all papers in maths and physics are self-archived), but less so in others - Not all journals allow it (about 65% do), and different journals have different policies. - Requires effort from researchers and can be confusing. - People might be reluctant to deposit preprints, as papers change a lot during peer review.
  22. 22. The spectrum of open access PLoS information sheet for understanding open access
  23. 23. 1. What is Open Access and why it matters 2. Current Open Access models 3. Open Access advocacy and innovations
  24. 24. Ground-up initiatives Researchers have been doing the following: - Submitting papers to OA journals - Self-archiving - Refusing to peer-review for closed journals - Boycotting specific publishers (Elsevier!)
  25. 25. Top-down initiatives - Funding bodies are starting to demand that papers made with their funding be open access - Some universities require all staff to submit paper copies to archives (triples self-archiving rate!) (Gargouri et al 2012)
  26. 26. PLoS (Public Library of Science) Scientific community grassroots initiative. 7 peer reviewed journals Uses gold model, but with adjustments / fees waived e.g. based on country PLoS also does a lot of open access advocacy. Innovative: PLoS ONE also subverts impact factor measures.
  27. 27. Open Access button (CC: copyright Open Access Button)
  28. 28. The future Currently, around 25% of articles are available as open access. What can we do to make that figure higher? - Lobby institutions for more top-down initiatives - Raise awareness among scientists, of both the gold and green OA models - Make the green model simpler for people - Innovative business models - e.g. iTunes style paper purchase? - Subverting current system - paper torrenting
  29. 29. Does OA go far enough? - Most science papers are incomprehensible to all but a few people. And even those few people struggle. - Rather than just making papers available, should we aim to make them understandable? It would help scientists as well!
  30. 30. Discussion points - Does everyone agree that OA is important? - What’s included in OA? Just the paper? Data? Images? Text? Should you be able to reproduce them? Does that have consequences? - Which groups of people is it important to, and how can we best meet the needs of those groups of people? - Which one wins, gold OA or green OA? Or is it more complicated than that? - Do we even need journal publishers at all? Can’t the universities sort it out themselves?

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