“I would like to see more intense competition on price and service”Name: Prof Stephen Curry
Position: Professor of Structural Biology
Expertise: Protein crystallography, RNA viruses
Institution: Imperial College London, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Department of Life Sciences
More info: Home Page Twitter Blog
ORCID ID: 0000-0002-0552-8870
An interview with Prof Stephen Curry on 11 December 2015
For me, Open Access rose to prominence when I learned about the boycott of Elsevier, triggered by their lobbying for the nefarious Research Works Act in the USA. What outraged me was Elsevier’s attempt to recast publicly-funded research as the property of the private sector.
“We need to take on board the entrenched conservatism, not just of academics but of universities, funding agencies and politicians.”
This volume of output reflects the complexity of the issues that are stirred by the slow transformation of the scholarly publishing landscape. The journey is far too slow for some advocates, but I think it is important to recognise the progress that has been made. We also need to take on board the entrenched conservatism, not just of academics but of universities, funding agencies and politicians, when it comes to plotting shifts in publishing practices.
“In our inter-connected world, this (Open Access) seems to me to be the only sensible way to proceed.”
For me, the process of engaging with Open Access was a process of politicisation. It matters to me that there is still a strong amateur ethos within the research community, which translates into an ethos of sharing. We write and review (and often edit) ‘for free’. In the life sciences – my own field – we exchange reagents freely. Open Access gives us the opportunity to extend that ethos, beyond disciplinary boundaries and beyond the walls of the ivory tower. In our inter-connected world, this seems to me to be the only sensible way to proceed. Yes, there are challenges, not the least of which is ensuring that all parts of the globe have the chance to participate in the Open Access project. Researchers in the developing world clearly benefit through access to the literature but still face barriers to publication that include cost and the hidden biases of reviewers in the developed world.
“The important thing is to keep moving and keep the channels of communication open.”
The important thing is to keep moving and keep the channels of communication open. I have learned so much about Open Access through many blog posts and talks, principally through conversations with those of a different perspective – either from another country or another discipline – and I’m still learning. I may have been writing and thinking about this for nearly four years now, but I don’t yet feel I have mastered the topic, and I look forward to further discussions – perhaps triggered by my contribution to this site?
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