Right now, most scientific research exists behind paywalls. And expensive paywalls at that. A license to read a single peer-reviewed journal article can set you back $50. Depending on the journal, that number might be a little lower, or a little higher, but access usually doesn’t come cheap … even if the research was funded with public money. When I write about a paper, I usually have to request a copy from the researcher before I can even know whether the paper in question is one I want to write about. And it’s not just journalists that get locked out. Even scientists themselves can’t always get access to the papers they need to read in order to do their jobs. New science is being stifled by the old business of scientific publishing, argues science journalist David Dobbs.
Open-access journals are different. These publications—the most famous being the Public Library of Science, or PLoS—make all the papers they publish available to anyone online, rather than printing expensive paper copies for subscribers. In a great article at his Neuron Culture blog, Dobbs makes the case for open-access science:
via BoingBoing – David Dobbs on the importance of open-source science