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[19 Jun 2012 | 7 Comments | ]

The Finch Report was commissioned by the UK Minister for Universities and Science to investigate possible routes for the UK to adopt Open Access for publicly funded research. The report was released last night and I have had just the chance to skim it over breakfast. These are just some first observations. Overall my impression is that the overall direction of travel is very positive but the detail shows some important missed opportunities.
The Good
The report comes out strongly in favour of Open Access to publicly funded research. Perhaps the core …

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[11 Jun 2012 | 6 Comments | ]

The holy grail of research assessment is a means of automatically tracking the way research changes the way practitioners act in the real world. How does new research influence policy? Where has research been applied by start-ups? And have new findings changed the way medical practitioners treat patients? Tracking this kind of research impact is hard for a variety of reasons: practitioners don’t (generally) write new research papers citing the work they’ve used; even if they did their work is often several steps removed from the original research making the links harder …

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[5 Jun 2012 | 21 Comments | ]
Added Value: I do not think those words mean what you think they mean

There are two major strands to position of traditional publishers have taken in justifying the process by which they will make the, now inevitable, transition to a system supporting Open Access. The first of these is that the transition will cost “more money”. The exact costs are not clear but the, broadly reasonable, assumption is that there needs to be transitional funding available to support what will clearly be a mixed system over some transitional period. The argument of course is how much money and where it will come from, …

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[4 Jun 2012 | 11 Comments | ]
25,000 signatures and still rolling: Implications of the White House petition

I’m afraid I went to bed. It was getting on for midnight and it looked like another four hours or so before the petition would reach the magic mark of 25,000 signatures. As it turns out a final rush put us across the line at around 2am my time, but never mind, I woke up wondering whether we had got there, headed for the computer and had a pleasant surprise waiting for me.
What does this mean? What have John Wilbanks, Heather Joseph, Mike Carroll, and Mike Rossner achieved by deciding …

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[21 May 2012 | Comments Off | ]
Send a message to the Whitehouse: Show the strength of support for OA

Changing the world is hard. Who knew? Advocating for change can be lonely. It can also be hard. As a scholar, particularly one at the start of a career it is still hard to commit fully to ensuring that research outputs are accessible and re-useable. But we are reaching a point where support for Open Access is mainstream, where there is a growing public interest in greater access to research, and increasingly serious engagement with the policy issues at the highest level.
The time has come to show just how strong …

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[3 May 2012 | 6 Comments | ]
Parsing the Willetts Speech on Access to UK Research Outputs

Yesterday David Willetts, the UK Science and Universities Minister gave a speech to the Publishers Association that has got wide coverage. However it is worth pulling apart both the speech and the accompanying opinion piece from the Guardian because there are some interesting elements in there, and also some things have got a little confused.
The first really key point is that there is nothing new here. This is basically a re-announcement of the previous position from the December Innovation Strategy on moving towards a freely accessible literature and a more public announcement …

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[22 Apr 2012 | 8 Comments | ]

I attended the first Sage Bionetworks Congress in 2010 and it left a powerful impression on my thinking. I have just attended the third congress in San Francisco and again the challenging nature of views, the real desire to make a difference, and the standard of thinking in the room will take me some time to process. But a series of comments, and soundbites over the course of the meeting have made me realise just how seriously bad our situation is.

Attempts by a variety of big pharma to replicate disease …

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[27 Mar 2012 | 17 Comments | ]
A big leap and a logical step: Moving to PLoS

As a child I was very clear I wanted to be a scientist. I am not sure exactly where the idea came from. In part I blame Isaac Asimov but it must have been a combination of things. I can’t remember not having a clear idea of wanting to go into research.
I started off a conventional career with big ideas – understanding the underlying physics, chemistry, and information theory that limits molecular evolution – but my problem was always that I was interested in too many things. I kept getting …

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[6 Mar 2012 | 22 Comments | ]

…although some are perhaps starting to see the problems that are going to arise.
Last week I spoke at a Question Time style event held at Oxford University and organised by Simon Benjamin and Victoria Watson called “The Scientific Evolution: Open Science and the Future of Publishing” featuring Tim Gowers (Cambridge), Victor Henning (Mendeley), Alison Mitchell (Nature Publishing Group), Alicia Wise (Elsevier), and Robert Winston (mainly in his role as TV talking head on science issues). You can get a feel for the proceedings from Lucy Pratt’s summary but I want to focus …

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[22 Feb 2012 | 12 Comments | ]
Github for science? Shouldn’t we perhaps build TCP/IP first?

Github for science sounds like a great plan? But do we have the underlying stack of equivalent services needed to provide “http for science” and “tcp/ip” for science. I argue that until we do we will struggle to really deliver on the excitement that examples (rightly) inspire.