“We need to do more to fight the trend in commercialising science”Name: Prof Ing Aleš Čepek
Position: Full professor
Institution: Czech Technical University in Prague, Faculty of Civil Engineering
Country: Czech Republic
More info: Home Page Other
ORCID ID: 0000-0003-3159-2320
An interview with Prof Ing Aleš Čepek on 8 February 2016
What got you originally interested in Open Access (OA)?
The Czech Republic was first connected to the Internet shortly after the end of the Cold War (academic institutions were connected first, as far as I know) and I was involved in training others in how to use Internet resources. The Internet was the new phenomenon; it was entirely different to information access and dissemination practices in the time of the communist era. In an already forgotten book, The Learning Highway (by Trevor Owen et al., Key Porter Books, 1995), Josef Hnojil and I wrote a chapter entitled “First Contacts with Internet at the Czech Technical University”, where we shared our experiences and concerns regarding the Internet.
My support for Open Access stems from these early experiences. This further intensified with my consequent experience with free software, namely GNU. I still administer my “Adjustment of Geodetic Networks” as a part of GNU today.
I then later published an Open Access journal Geoinformatics, which was accepted by DOAJ in 2015.
To sum up, the road to Open Access has been a natural journey and destination for me with no need for persuasion.
Why, in your opinion, do we need Open Access to research?
“Whilst forming the basis of our civilisation, universities worked with principles that correspond to today’s Open Access goals.”
Finally, rather than focussing on the economics of OA, I would like to remind ourselves that for centuries, whilst forming the basis of our civilisation, universities worked with principles that correspond to today’s Open Access goals when we freely disseminated information. It will be interesting to see how tools like Google Scholar or ResearchGate will develop, and to see whether they will change their position accordingly in the information environment.
What Open Access activities are you currently involved in?
What can scholars and/or administration do to promote openness to research?
What are the challenges in making research more Open Access?
“I wonder, how much longer can we stand this situation, and the competition?!”
The matter of research evaluation is also of real importance. Our Czech National R&D Evaluation Policy and Criteria (or in Czech) funding scheme only considers publications indexed by Web of Science (WoS) or Scopus. Our journal is listed on the Czech National list of peer-reviewed journals issued by the Czech Research, Development and Innovation Council. However, since 2013, articles in these journals are no longer part of the evaluation process. I wonder, how much longer can we stand this situation, and the competition?! This clearly impedes Open Access to publications.
What still needs to be done to provide more Open Access to research?
We need to persist and keep working on more Open Access day after day when “disseminating the fruits of … research and scholarship as widely as possible”, as so nicely put in MIT’s Faculty Open Access Policy.
Copyright: Lenka Nemeckova, Czech Technical University in Prague. Creative Commons CC-BY Licence.
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