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Open Access is really taking off these days, at least if measured by the number of people chiming in with opinions, visions and concerns. Today saw not only the deposition of our paper on how journal rank is like homeopathy or astrology on ArXiv, but Mike Taylor also cites Michael Eisen in an aptly titled article "Hiding your research behind a paywall is immoral" as noting that "fewer than half of biology hires at Berkeley in the last decade have published in Science, Nature or Cell". Although there is still no citable evidence to that effect I know of, it underscores the empirical data we do review in our article: it is irrelevant where scientific discoveries are published. Journal rank is a figment of our imagination and does not stand up to scientific scrutiny.

Just making journal articles open access will only cure one symptom of the disease that is crippling science today. We need to rid ourselves of the illusion of journal rank and instead rely on scientific methods to perform the sort. filter, evaluation and discover tasks we currently bestow on journal rank. Dan Cohen on Wired echoes that sentiment when he demands in Wired that "To Make Open Access Work, We Need to Do More Than Liberate Journal Articles". His article emphasizes (as we do in ours) that the important development that now needs to happen is to change the incentives for scientists, to align them better with what is good for science. He emphasizes the need to replace journal rank with post-publication review, focusing on the article, i.e. the scientific discovery, rather than on the container, i.e., the journal.

See also: part II: visions, part III: concerns.
Posted on Thursday 17 January 2013 - 10:19:03 comment: 7

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