Monday, August 6, 2012

Open Access and Publishing

Believe it or not the world is changing, all the time even. And that include the publishing of professional papers and documents. The very term publishing is making a change. I have been through the process for over fifty years almost and at times it is frustrating. At first you scramble, then with a reputation you are asked to submit almost anything. Thus the clan of reviewers are often keepers of the "truth" as they see it. The Internet has blow that asunder and Open Access publishing is but one dimension of that.

The Scientist has an interesting piece worth a read. The state:

While poor quality publishers are proliferating, often creating hundreds of cookie-cutter journals, they tend to publish relatively few articles. On the other hand, PLoS recently published its 50,000th article. We reanalyzed data from a study we recently published in the Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology that characterized the APCs of journals charging them. We found that two thirds of the approximately 106,000 articles published in 2010 in these journals, listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals, were in publications listed by the 2010 Journal Citation Report (JCR) and another 11 percent were listed in the Scopus abstract and citation database but not in the JCR. The publishers of these indexes screen the journals they list for quality including ensuring that they are properly peer-reviewed. This suggests that the majority of scientists publishing in OA journals that charge APCs are savvy enough to avoid low quality publishers. It appears that they care about the quality of the journals in which they publish, as do the promotion and tenure committees that evaluate researchers. Beall and others have pointed out a legitimate concern with predatory publishing, but it is important to keep that concern in perspective.

I suspect Journals like PLoS will become accepted on a par with those which charge extreme amounts per article. I personally use PLoS and have subscriptions to some old standards, NEJM, Science, etc, but PLoS and other on line available sources exceed now by orders of magnitude my subscription access.

I believe this will change the velocity of dissemination and will be a tremendous benefit to science.