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[Annelida] Open access

Geoff Read via annelida%40net.bio.net (by Geoffrey.Read from niwa.co.nz)
Tue Feb 26 23:31:13 EST 2019

Dear colleagues,

Copyright bedevils our work as scientists.  In particular modern closed-access journals hamper the advance of science, and even rules surrounding access to old books on taxonomy result in some ludicrous restrictions (for example the Hathi trust digitization's are often inaccessible to almost everyone).  Some good news is that recently the well-known BHL 'nothing after 1922' restriction came to an end, at least in USA, and now the freeing-up of taxonomy should advance slowly year by year - for instance McIntosh's last Ray Society monograph (1923) MIGHT become available at BHL soon (don't know when).
[background:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019_in_public_domain#Entering_the_public_domain_in_the_United_States ]

Modern journals are what I want to draw attention to now.  Think carefully before you publish in a closed access journal such as Zootaxa (popular though it is as a place to publish, the vast majority of Zootaxa works are not open access).  Why should people, including citizen scientists, with only a need to find out about some worm they have encountered that day, have to jump through hoops in order to track you down to read your work - if you are still alive to respond? They probably won't do it, to your detriment as well as theirs - why did you put in such a tremendous effort if few get to see the result, and even fewer cite you? However, your work should be just there for them at a click of a mouse, shouldn't it?  It's not proprietary to you (the journal owner sells it, not you), and no-one is depriving you of profits if your work is open access. Surely if anyone interested can read it then the better it is for the world.

There are initiatives to encourage open access. Plan S requires that, from 2020, scientific publications that result from research funded by public grants (in Europe) must be published in compliant Open Access journals or platforms.  The link below is an entry point to information about it.



Geoff Read

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