The Future of Scholarly Publication

Posted on May 31, 2005  Comments (0)

Scholarly journals’ premier status diluted by Web by Bernard Wysocki Jr., The Wall Street Journal:

In the U.S. a powerful open-access advocate has been Harold Varmus, a Nobel laureate, former UC scholar and former NIH director. He’s now head of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. He co-founded Public Library of Science with Berkeley’s Dr. Eisen, backed by a $9 million grant from a private foundation. Charging authors a fee of $1,500, the group launched its first peer-reviewed journal, PLoS Biology, in 2003, and also distributes its contents free on the Internet.

I have nothing against Journals trying to stay in business. I do however, think the internet has created a better method of distributing information than existed previously. And, given the current state of the internet, I do object to scientific knowledge being kept out of the scientific and public community. The ability to use the internet to more effectively communicate new knowledge should not be sacrificed to protect the old model journals had for sustaining themselves. They should find a way to fund themselves and make their material availalbe for free on the internet (I think some delay for free public access would be fine – the shorter the delay the better). Or they should be replaced by others that do so.

Luckily sites like the Public Library of Science (freely accessible online scholarly publications) are offering such an alternative.

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