Some introductory reading material

As a starting point for discussion for our working group, below is a mildly curated list of links I recently had folk at NCEAS read before a discussion on open publishing. I’m accompanying it with the list of questions I asked the postdocs to think about when reading them. Some of this is outdated now that, for example, the RWA has been pulled. Still, it is useful to go back and read.

Questions to Ponder

1. Do we need a change our model of scientific publishing? Why?

2. What needs to change?

3. Are scientists/ecologists ready for a change? Are we too conservative or slow to adopt change in general, open access in particular? I.e., good in theory, doesn’t work in practice? (

4. What are the differences between commercial (e.g., Elsevier) and non-profit journals (e.g., ESA) that affect the exchange of scientific information ( There does not appear to be a difference in quality as measured by the number of citations (

5. Do commercial journals offer us something that non-profit journals do not? Prestige? What about differences between ESA and PloS (high costs put on author) models?

6. If the exchange of information is better served by open access, should we refuse to review for commercial journals?

7. Is there a difference between exchange of information for the sake of the discipline and personal academic success?

Resources on Open Access

The Issue at Hand
An Introduction with some Humor

The Research Works, H.R. 3699 Act & Responses from Scientists

ESA’s statement on Open Access back in Jan (that some on Ecolog-L were not too happy about)

A Pledge to Not Publish in Elsevier Journals (e.g., TREE) with a lot of folk signing on

Further Meditations
Academic Spring?

Comments from Michael Hochberg

Do publishers add value? Nature says yes.

Publishers need us more than we need them

Oh, just go and read Michael Eisen’s blog already. I mean, he co-founded PLoS!


Federal Research Public Access Act, or, Scientists Strike Back. #FRPAA

Beyond Academic Journals

What Math and Physics have been doing for years

Nature Preceedings

Faculty 1000 new open access publication:

Something Wholly New? AKA what our working group is all about.
Gratuitous self-link

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