Open Access: Could Peer Reviewed Science be Lost?

The first of a series of blogs on open access has been published by Nature. Chris, a professor and an editor of four journals – one of which is open access – expresses his thoughts in ‘Open Access: Is it as Good as it Looks?‘ . It is an excellent read.

I was particularly struck by this comment

The urge to make a profit and publish as many papers as possible may become irresistible for some of these journals.  Some may succeed, some will fail.  What happens to the content of failed non-print journals?

Just yesterday I was at a meeting where a senior USDA official spoke to me about starting a new peer review journal. Starting them is easy. The challenge is keeping journals (and professional societies dependent upon the revenue stream) alive. In the past when a publisher went out of business, I could find hard copies of published papers in libraries. Sometimes a more economically viable publisher acquired and continued publishing the same journal.

Fast forward to 2012. If an electronic journal closes shop, who will maintain the servers with this content? Will the papers published electronically be lost and forgotten? This is an important consideration. Science is not and should not be disposable, throwaway.

About Michael McBurney

Personal Blog | Nutrition scientist with broad interests, including social media and the impact of open access journals on science publishing | Self-employed freelancer
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