Moving The Needle On Open-Access Science Publishing

The Open Access supporters who are calling for a boycott of certain non-Open Access journals and–mostly simultaneously–decrying what they see as the undue influence of “Glamour journals” (Science, Cell, Nature, PLoS Biology, and some of the top field-specific journals) are going about this all wrong. You don’t build support for people publishing in non-Open Access journals–both glamour and non-glamour–by telling them that it is unethical and pragmatically bad to do otherwise. Rather, you need to make them *want* to do so.

For example, DoucheMonkey has made the point that–beyond the issue of scientists chasing glamour–there are numerous closed-access low-profile low-impact journals that fill a very specific niche: they have real-scientist editorial staff and a steady roster of expert reviewers who are *known to and trusted by the motherfucken authors*. Many of these journals are the official organs of scientific societies. Until open-access journals replicate this situation, they are not going to convince authors to flock to them.

Those of you who are dissatisfied with the roster of academic editors at PLoS ONE in your field, how about *you* fucken volunteer to serve? Send your CV to Pete Binfield, and if you are a credible member of your field, he’ll happily sign you up! And then–once you have enough experience to be credible–you suggest to your fucken colleagues in your field/subfield that they (1) submit their non-glamour work and (2) sign up as editors themselves?

This is exactly what has occurred in each of the several fields/subfields that I operate within, and there are now excellent editors in those fields/subfields, we receive excellent paper submissions, and we have little trouble enlisting excellent reviewers for those submissions.

This is how you build a critical mass, not by telling people that it is unethical for them to publish in some subset of journals.



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