Open Access Week – highlights, and looking ahead

BMC Medicine kicked off their Open Access Week activities with the publication of a research article looking at the changing landscape of open access scientific publishing over the last decade, which, to quote Stephen Curry in his coverage of the article appearing in the Guardian, suggests that the “academic publishing game has changed irrevocably”.

To end the week the journal will be hosting a twitter chat with the article authors and Stephen Curry to discuss this growth in open access, turning our gaze to the future of open access, and the broad issues that will be relevant in next decade and beyond (Friday, 12pm UK time).

This week has seen a flurry of announcements and activity around open access (summarised here), and some of these are particularly relevant to the questions we’ll be asking, so here follows a quick round up of some of the issues raised this week with Friday’s discussion in mind.

Policy initiatives
A national open access policy for publicly-funded research was agreed by all research funding councils and research institutes in Ireland this week, with this statement on open access released on Wednesday. This follows a number of policy initiatives in the US, European Union, Denmark, and the UK this year, which will clearly be key in shaping the evolution of open access publishing.

Publishing licenses
OASPA commented this week that the CC-BY license is, by removing barriers to reuse, essential to fully realising the potential of open access to research. IOP Publishing (and previously Wiley) announced that they are to join the biggest open access publishers, BioMed Central, PLoS and Hindawi in publishing under this license. Cameron Neylon’s guest blog post at Reuters also highlights the importance of making data truly open and usable through CC-BY licenses.

Indicators of journal compliance
The ‘How open is it?’ guide was published to assist authors in making informed decisions on where to publish, based on publisher policy, and so that funders and institutions will have a resource which indicates criteria for the level of OA required for their policies.

Indicators of journal quality
Today a group of funders, editors and publishers have agreed on the need for a set of journal level quality indicators to allow researchers to better assess the quality of young open access journals, as this remains a barrier to authors publishing in OA journals.

Indicators of article impact
Some open access week events focussed on the potential for open access to drive ‘fundamental shifts’ in the communication, filtering and dissemination of research, facilitated by comprehensive measures of research impact at the article level as an alternative to the Impact Factor. This week Nature announced that they will be making article level indicators of impact available, a clear indication that the research communities interest in alternatives to the traditional measures of research impact has been noted.

We hope you can join us on Friday with your thoughts on the questions below. The discussion will run from 12pm – 1pm UK time and use the hashtag #BMCMed (more information here).

Q1 – What are the main factors that have led to the steady growth of OA publishing?
Q2 – How do you think this trend will develop over the next decade, and explain why?
Q3 – What challenges does the growth of OA publishing face in ensuring that it reaches its full potential?
Q4 – Where will the funding for OA publishing come from?
Q5 – Do subscription journals offer benefits that OA journals do not?

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