The workshop description referred to #OpenScience as
> efforts to make the scientific process more open and inclusive for all relevant actors.
They key word here is *inclusive*. The idea is that, as a society, we benefit if more people are able to contribute to the body of scientific knowledge.
An important component of inclusivity is affordability. Yes, more people can read research if it is freely available, but if that is done by shifting the costs to authors, there is still a barrier to participating in the scientific process.
Luckily, when it comes to scholarly publishing, there is every reason to believe it *can* be cheaper. There’s two reasons for this.
1. Unlike practically every other publishing industry (movies, music, etc.), the price of scholarly publishing has only increased with the advent of the internet.
2. The major scholarly publishers report profit margins of 30–40%, year after year. These numbers are typical (or even at the high end) of luxury brands — in other words, of exclusive goods, which are not inclusive by definition.
In some disciplines, authors first share their work on arXiv. Fellow researchers can then immediately read this work, albeit with a critical eye — it has not been peer reviewed yet. If they notice potential improvements to the work, they can report it to the author, who then incorporates that in a new version uploaded to arXiv.
This indicates that the primary value of a journal — one that researchers are willing to pay good public money for — is credentialing. It’s the brand that they pay for. And when businesses do not compete on price or services provided, but on brand, prices rise and affordability decreases.
Another example of this playing out is that, despite providing practically identical services at a higher price, Nature’s Scientific Reports has overtaken PLOS One as the largest journal. Its primary differentiator? The Nature brand.
For the scientific policy advisors at the OECD, my answer to that question is that we should decouple the evaluation of researchers from the publishing process. If researchers are evaluated on the quality of their research instead of the journal it was published in, that would remove their need to pay whatever amount of public money a publisher asks of them just to obtain career credentials.
My message to researchers is similar: find ways to promote your academic work that are independent of the journal it’s published in. I’m working on one such method with Flockademic: by bundling your research together on your academic profile, your research promotes you instead of the journal it’s published in.
@Flockademic Barbara Fister described this as outsourcing responsibility for judging your colleagues work to publishers. (Esp in the areas where books are important tenure markers
@platypus That's exactly what it is. Well, almost: the publishers of course, in turn, outsource it to some colleagues as well. So the challenge is removing them from that equation. (Or even better: how to get researchers to evaluate their colleagues based on their actual research. But that's even harder to solve, I'm afraid.)
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