Researchers publish scholarly articles reporting their research results for two reasons. First, they want their work to be distributed so it can be put to use, either by colleagues in their international research communities or by other experts. Secondly, they want the quality of their work to be checked and improved, which ideally is a consequence of the peer review system used in scholarly publishing.
Open access is intended as a modification of the first of these two motivations. By eliminating charges to readers, everyone will have access to the results of scientific activity. This means that researchers internationally will have unlimited access, regardless of their personal or institutional economic circumstances.
However, the shift to open access could have been truly disruptive if it also had led to radical changes in our quality control system. That hasn’t happened in any profound way. There is still a crisis of reproducibility. Retraction rates continue to rise. Partially for these reasons, it remains acceptable for public figures to express disregard for research results.
In a recent speech, I elaborated on three reasons that the tragically slow transition to open access has not been disruptive:
- lack of political leadership,
- the power of monopolies, and
- the unwillingness of the professorate.
If you don’t agree, what do you think explains the slothfulness of the transition?
I encourage you to republish this article online and in print, under the following conditions.
- You have to credit the author.
- If you’re republishing online, you must use our page view counter and link to its appearance here (included in the bottom of the HTML code), and include links from the story. In short, this means you should grab the html code below the post and use all of it.
- Unless otherwise noted, all my pieces here have a Creative Commons Attribution licence -- CC BY 4.0 -- and you must follow the (extremely minimal) conditions of that license.
- Keeping all this in mind, please take this work and spread it wherever it suits you to do so!