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What's Open Access Good For? Absolutely everything!
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The Golden Road to Open Science
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If you are a scholar and haven't spent the last ten years in a vacuum, you have heard of Open Access: the emerging practice of providing unrestricted access to peer-reviewed scholarly works, such as journal articles, conference papers, and book chapters. Open Access comes in two flavors, green and gold, depending on how an article is made available to the public. The "green road" to Open Access involves an author making her article publicly available after publication, e.g. by depositing the article's post-print in an open institutional repository. According to many, the preferred avenue to achieve Open Access, however, is the "golden road" which happens when an author publishes an article directly in an OA journal. The fact that Open Access, regardless of its flavor, has innumerable benefits for researchers and the public at large is beyond discussion --- even the most traditional scholarly publishers would have to agree. Importantly, the vision of universal Open Access to scholarly knowledge, i.e., the idea that the entire body of published scholarship should be made available to everyone free of charge, is not too far fetched. In practice, by a combination of green and golden OA practices, this vision is already a reality in some scientific fields, such as physics and astronomy.
So: Open Access is both fundamentally necessary and bound to happen. But, whether Open Access, alone, can guarantee reproducibility and transparency of research results is a different and compelling question. Do research articles contain enough information to exactly (or even approximately) replicate a scientific study? Unfortunately, very often the answer to this question is no. As science, and scholarship in general, become inevitably more computational in nature, the experiments, calculations, and analyses performed by researchers are too many and too complex to be described in detail in a research article. As such, the minutiae of research activity are often hidden from view, making science unintelligible and irreproducible, not only for the public at large, but also for scientists, experts and, paradoxically, even for the same scientists who conducted the research in the first place, who may have not documented their exact workflows elsewhere. A parallel movement to Open Access --- Open Science --- is building up momentum in scholarly circles. Its mission is to provide open, universal access to the full sources of scientific research.
Force11 White Paper: Improving The Future of Research Communications and e-Scholarship
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Abstract. Research and scholarship lead to the generation of new knowledge. The dissemination of this knowledge has a fundamental impact on the ways in which society develops and progresses, and at the same time it feeds back to improve subsequent research and scholarship. Here, as in so many other areas of human activity, the internet is changing the way things work: it opens up opportunities for new processes that can accelerate the growth of knowledge, including the creation of new means of communicating that knowledge among researchers and within the wider community. Two decades of emergent and increasingly pervasive information technology have demonstrated the potential for far more effective scholarly communication. However, the use of this technology remains limited; research processes and the dissemination of research results have yet to fully assimilate the capabilities of the web and other digital media. Producers and consumers remain wedded to formats developed in the era of print publication, and the reward systems for researchers remain tied to those delivery mechanisms.
Force11 (the Future of Research Communication and e-Scholarship) is a community of scholars, librarians, archivists, publishers and research funders that has arisen organically to help facilitate the change toward improved knowledge creation and sharing. Individually and collectively, we aim to bring about a change in scholarly communication through the effective use of information technology. Force11 has grown from a small group of like-minded individuals into an open movement with clearly identified stakeholders associated with emerging technologies, policies, funding mechanisms and business models. While not disputing the expressive power of the written word to communicate complex ideas, our foundational assumption is that scholarly communication by means of semantically-enhanced media-rich digital publishing is likely to have a greater impact than communication in traditional print media or electronic facsimiles of printed works. However, to date, online versions of ’scholarly outputs’ have tended to replicate print forms, rather than exploit the additional functionalities afforded by the digital terrain. We believe that digital publishing of enhanced papers will enable more effective scholarly communication, which will also broaden to include, for example, better links to data, the publication of software tools, mathematical models, protocols and workflows, and research communication by means of social media channels.
This document highlights the findings of the Force11 workshop on the Future of Research Communication and e-Scholarship held at Schloss Dagstuhl, Germany, in August 2011: it summarizes a number of key problems facing scholarly publishing today, and presents a vision that addresses these problems, proposing concrete steps that key stakeholders can take to improve the state of scholarly publishing. More about Force11 can be found at http://www.force11.org. This White Paper is a collaborative effort that reflects the input of all Force11 attendees at the Dagstuhl Workshop 1, and is very much a living document 2 . We see it as a starting point that will grow and be updated and augmented by individual and collective efforts by the participants and others. We invite you to join and contribute to this enterprise.
Citation: Bourne P, Clark T, Dale R, de Waard A, Herman I, Hovy E and Shotton D, on behalf of the Force11 community (2011). Force11 White Paper: Improving the Future of Research Communication and e-Scholarship. 27 October 2011. Available from http://force11.org/ Copyright: © 2011 The authors. License: This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (v3.0, unported: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original authors and source are credited.↩
F1000Research article template
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