Open Access for
Early Career Researchers
by Ross Mounce
A bit about myself...
I’m a biologist - my views on OA reflect this
* Vocal advocate for open science (not just access!)
* Awarded Panton Fellowship 2012-13
* Ede & Ravenscroft Prize finalist 2012
* Submitted PhD @UniOfBath Oct 2013
* On Organising Committee for upcoming OA event:
* Gave a talk at OA week 2012 @UniofBath too: http://bit.ly/BathOAweek
Why do I care about OA?
The abundance of paywalls seriously obstructs my
ability to do rigorous research.
I believe charitably and publicly-funded research should
be available to all, to read and re-use, at no extra cost.
I want my research to be read and re-used by others,
rather than locked-away behind a paywall.
Scholarly publishing is broken
The past & present
The future of decoupled publishing
“ Today’s journals are the
best scholarly communication
system possible using 17th
century technology ”
“ Online journals are
essentially paper journals,
delivered by faster horses ”
Recommend Read: Priem, J. and Hemminger, B. M. 2012.
Decoupling the scholarly journal Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience
Annual Profit Margins for 2010:
Elsevier 36% | Springer 33.9% | Wiley 42%
What normal companies tend to make (2010):
British Gas 9% | BT 10% | BP -1.2% | Amazon 3.4% | eBay 19.7%
Nestle 17.3% | IBM 14.9% | Vodafone 19.4% | Apple 21.5%
Academic publishing is not a regulated market. It’s worth billions annually.
They charge whatever they can get away with, hence institutions like UCL pay
over £1,000,000 per year to rent access to (just) Elsevier content.
Sources: http://svpow.com/2012/01/13/the-obscene-profits-of-commercial-scholarly-publishers/ , Wikinvest,
Excessive profiteering (2)
5 page article
Source: http://dx.doi.org/10.1166/jbmb.2012.1234 (still available at that price, Bath has no access)
Legacy Publishers Prevent Text Mining
Many standard institutional access agreements explicitly
prevent text & data mining of scholarly content:
"Schedule 1.2(a) General Terms and Conditions RESTRICTIONS ON USAGE OF THE
LICENSED PRODUCTS/ INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS GTC1 Subscriber shall
not use spider or web-crawling or other software programs, routines, robots or other
mechanized devices to continuously and automatically search and index any content
accessed online under this Agreement. " ELSEVIER
* Bulk downloading content can result in access being cut-off
* When permission is sought, negotiations can take months
Further information: http://www.slideshare.net/rossmounce/content-mining (An invited talk I gave at the European Commission, Brussels)
How can one have ‘too much’ content?
I’ve had my access to at least one publisher (BioOne) cut-off
before. My 'crime' – downloading more than 25 PDFs in 5
The paywall system and its
rate limitations create artificial
obstacles for researchers.
In contrast, OA publishers have no
problem with you downloading all
their content. Many even actively
facilitate this. I have all of PLoS
on a USB stick.
Myth-busting (1) the cost of OA
‘gold’ open access simply means journal-mediated OA
Most OA journals do not charge (APC’s) to publish with them*
Have Fee Waivers
*Source: Solomon, D. J. and Björk, B.-C. 2012. A study of open access journals using article processing
charges. J Am Soc Inf Sci Tec 63:1485-1495. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/asi.22673
‘Predatory Publishers’ - not a real problem
exist & their numbers
are on the rise.
But would you submit
your work to a
website like this?
I get email scams
everyday - I ignore
and delete them.
‘Journals’ like these
should not tarnish the
reputation of others
“Only academics need access to research”
Why provide open access to everyone?
What good could come from that, eh?
Some of the legacy publishers have
even suggested harm could come from
greater access to research:
“We need to be careful with [access to]
this very, very high-level information”
John Jarvis, 2004-03-01 (MD, Wiley Europe)
See whoneedsaccess.org for more
examples in support of OA from GP’s,
policy-makers, small businesses,
patients, independent researchers,
artists, retired researchers...
There are significant, well-evidenced benefits from
wider access to research e.g. Jack Andraka
Emerging solutions for the Humanities
I’m from a science background, where open access is now uncontroversial and
an inevitable* end-point. The question here is no longer ‘if’ but ‘when’.
The awareness and adoption of OA in the Humanities and Social Sciences
(HSS) is in an early stage of development - seize these opportunities!
(Switching to OA from 2014)
punctum books ✶ brooklyn, ny
* Lewis, D. W. 2012. The inevitability of open access. College & Research Libraries 73:493-506.
Jha, A. 2012 Open access to research is inevitable, says Nature editor-in-chief
Shieber, S. 2012. The inevitability of open access. http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/pamphlet/2012/06/28/the-inevitability-of-open-access/
Specific advice for early career researchers
Advice will vary greatly between disciplines and labs.
There are a lot of conflicting opinions out there.
e.g. ‘Publishing: Open to possibilities’ (Nature, 2013)
My opinion: If you have faith in your own work, then you can publish it wherever*
Now, and in the future, article-level metrics & altmetrics will be used to assess research
The usage of Journal Impact Factor for research assessment is “statistically illiterate”
( no, really - read any paper on this subject. See also DORA )
So if you’re forward-thinking you may want to choose a suitable open access journal
(Remember, in future people may well judge you on where/how you publish)
* but obviously avoid scammy journals, journals without article DOI’s, journals no-one reads etc...
If all else fails, make sure you self-archive the full-text of your work with OPUS
This is the ‘green’ open access route - OPUS is our ‘institutional repository’
Even if you publish in a non-OA venue your work may at some point later be allowed
to be made freely accessible via OPUS (sometimes with a delay of months to years).
University of Bath mandates that all researchers deposit a full-text copy of their
published works from 1st June 2011 onwards. (I thoroughly support this policy)
N.B. Self-archived copies aren’t always found by people looking for your work and
often impose legal restrictions on re-use. So I prefer OA journals, given a choice. But
practically-speaking a mixed strategy of self-archiving & OA journals works well.
Either ‘route’ to open access is better than none at all!