Retrospect – Topic 5 – Who’s The Dinosaur In The Room?

To be honest, this isn’t a subject I’d thought about before; like all of our community, when I’ve been completing my University assignments I have found it difficult or impossible to access key articles. So before looking into this topic I would have been 100% in favour of Open Access. Similarly, if someone had warned that this can effect quality I wouldn’t have worried (in English Literature we get extra marks for well-structured criticisms of published work, which is obviously easier if the quality of that work is poor).

However, having looked at the topic it became clear that the dynamics are different in different subjects. In my case – being an English Literature student -the goal of researchers is unambiguously to publish, publish, publish. But in science and engineering there is an inherent conflict between the desire to publish, and the realisation that publication can destroy value. This is a theme that no one else seemed to have picked up on so, I chose to emphasise it in my exchanges with Zia, Ben and Bartosz. Accuracy is also a difficult concept; in English Literature all that counts is having a well-structured and defended view – there is rarely a right or wrong answer. In science there is right and wrong – so peer review of published work is vital.

The theme that underpinned all of my postings was the concept of business models. I believe that with the right business models Open Access can work. Without it, it will fail.

And that is my “Dinosaur in the Room” – business models.

Otherwise, I have again learned much about my fellow bloggers. I note there are few scientists amongst us, and as a community I think we have taken a narrow world view as a result. Indeed, I suspect that the views I have taken would have been reflected by someone taking scientific subject.

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