At a recent Open Access Futures presentation, speaker Rick Anderson noted that the music industry has moved from selling CDs to selling individual songs and he wondered whether academic journals might do the same. In other words, what if libraries one day stopped subscribing to scholarly journals but instead bought individual articles one at a time, in response to immediate needs by researchers?
The open access (OA) movement has a lot of moving parts. For example it has led some research funding agencies to mandate that research publications resulting from grants should be made publicly available. A recent memo from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy requires federal science agencies to prepare a policy for making the published results of scientific research available to the public. The Smithsonian Institution is now working to formalize its policy.
The evaluation of research quality is a task which is attracting attention as the world turns more and more to evidence-based decision making. The work of scientists and historians are regularly reviewed by institutional administrators to ensure a high quality of scholarship and to determine where to deploy scarce resources. One of the most relied-upon components of research assessment is the review of publications authored by a particular scholar. And although publications are difficult to objectively evaluate, the standard method for many years was to use the journal impact factor. This method measured the number of times the articles from a particular journal were subsequently cited by other publications, for which a numeric score was assigned to the journal. It soon became prestigious for scholars to have their papers published in a journal with a high impact factor.
Alvin Hutchinson and I attended the annual meeting of BioOne on April 23, 2010 here in Washington, DC. BioOne is a global, not-for-profit collaboration bringing together scientific societies, publishers, and libraries to provide access to critical, peer- reviewed research in the biological, ecological, and environmental sciences. BioOne is also an important partner with the Biodiversity Heritage Library. David Remsen (Secretariat, Global Biodiversity Information Facility [GBIF]) spoke about the nature of taxonomic publishing as it pertains to the naming of organisms. Remsen, formerly of the Marine Biological Laboratory/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution library, was one of the minds behind the formation of the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL). As one of the key creators of the taxonomic intelligence tools that underlay BHL, he has been an important contributor to the success of BHL. He spoke about the importance of taxonomic name finding, and related problems. Amy Brand (Assistant Provost for Faculty Appointments, Harvard University) gave an overview of Harvard's Office of Scholarly Communications which manages the university's open access program and digital repository. more »