EGU Blogs


The rise of open research data

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As a junior researcher in the UK, it has given me great pleasure over the last few years to see the dramatic development of open access publishing. Most major research funders in the UK now require public access to published research articles in one form or another, and many other research intensive nations across the globe are following suit.

Along with this global increase in public access to papers, there has been a gear shift in demand for the availability of additional outputs of research, including code, videos, software, and raw data. One of the most recent steps in increasing access to these outputs has been the RECODE project for researchers in the EU, which seeks to develop an open data ecosystem through shifting research practices. With progress being made in the USA too, the wheels are truly in motion towards a global shift towards open access to all research outputs.

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Every time you publish behind a paywall, a kitten dies.

“Every day, people are denied access to something they have a right to.”

That’s the opening line from a new appeal from students Joe McArthur and David Carroll. Open Access describes a form of publication of research where articles are made instantly available for free, and with unlimited reusability rights, as long as the source is attributed. There are many pseudo-open access ‘definitions’ out there from publishers to obfuscate its use, but this is the only real, least restrictive one.

There has been a global open access movement over the last 10-15 years, which has accelerated so rapidly in the last year or two that many research funders and institutions, as well as government bodies, have developed open access policies. However, despite this progress, large commercial publishers like Wiley, Taylor and Francis, and Elsevier are still the most profitable industry in the world (with margins even higher than Apple), the majority of their profits coming from obscene charges for pdfs and library subscriptions for research articles and journals.

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Good news everyone..!

Thanks to Ross Mounce for alerting me to this piece of news.

Fossil Record: An International Journal of Geosciences 
We invite you to submit or recommend papers to this ISI-listed, international palaeontological journal of the Museum fur Naturkunde Berlin. Fossil Record publishes original research papers covering all areas of palaeontology and provides a platform for a wide array of articles with palaeobiological content, ranging from new descriptions of fossil faunas and floras to phylogenetic studies, palaeobiogeographic analyses and constructional morphology. All taxonomic groups of fossil organisms are considered, including invertebrates, microfossils, plants and vertebrates. Manuscripts submitted to Fossil Record will be peer-reviewed by at least two external referees. For us, the most important aspect is that Fossil Record will in 2014 become an open access journal with our new professional publishing partner Copernicus Publications. With this decision, the Museum fur Naturkunde and the team of editors close the gap between the requirements of many scientists, funders, and libraries for open access to scientific publications. As well as enjoying better visibility, your papers will be much more widely distributed and available for scientific databases. Fossil Record will have to introduce article processing charges (APC) by 2014 because open access publishing requires paying the costs of the review process, typesetting, web publication and long term archiving upon publication. APC are obtained on a page-by-page basis (please find more APC information) but many universities, research institutions and grant agencies provide funds to support authors regarding APC. Please check with your institution. In addition, Copernicus Publications has several agreements in place to settle payments directly between the respective institution and the publisher. Furthermore, Fossil Record has a budget of free pages to be decided by the Editor-in-Chief available to authors from developing countries, or for special publications upon request. We look forwards to receiving your manuscripts which can be uploaded here in the Copernicus Office Editor.

Yours sincerely, The Fossil Record Editors M. Aberhan, D. Korn, F. Witzmann

So as an open access advocate, a supporter of the EGU and Copernicus, and a palaeontologist (in case you hadn’t got that yet), it’s great to see this move from a non-OA domain within Wiley (a partial open access publisher). Also nice to see is the assistance offered to authors from developing countries, and a page-based article processing charge (APC), which may encourage different length manuscripts to be submitted. It is worth noting though that often the review process is handled by volunteer editors and volunteer reviewers, so I’m not sure why this is being included in the APC overview. Anyway, it’s a good move, and happily coincides with the EGU rolling out their altmetrics platform (altmetrics are ways of seeing how an article has been digitally disseminated, along with citation counts etc) – great stuff!
For more on open access and stuff, I wrote a guest post for Matt Shipman on it recently, which you can find here.