Dear scientists: Help me help you. Help me fix scientific publishing.
There’s a problem with science, and it’s slowing us down. The problem, in a nutshell, is this: Most research is funded with public means, yet when the results are published, that same public often has to pay again to be able to access it. This limits the number of people who can use research outcomes and put them to good use, and goes directly against the reasons for funding the research in the first place.
I’m an idealist. I want to help change this. And thus, I’ve spent the past year diving into the matter, analysing the problem, finding out what is being done, and what is still left to be done. I’ve been listening to many people and organisations that have been speaking out about this in one way or another, to find out what they think the problems are, and how they could be solved.
Many of the potential solutions have a technical component to them; some software or platform that might help, if only someone built it. As it happens, I’m a software engineer, and I build software.
So today, I’ve bit the bullet. I quit my job, and from now on, I will spend my time tackling this challenge.
Of course, the challenge is monumental. Changing the world of academic publishing is no small feat, and only few initiatives have successfully managed to make a dent. But I think there’s a chance it can be pulled off, however small, and I’m going for it.
If this project is going to be in any way successful, I cannot do it alone. I am good at building software, but that will always only be part of the solution. Thus, I will need your help. I will need your feedback. I want to connect with other initiatives, researchers, librarians, funders, and anyone who cares about opening up science. Let’s find out how best to make lasting impact in the world of academic publishing.
If you have any ideas, feedback, encouraging remarks, or just want to say hi, drop me a line at Vincent@Flockademic.com. I would love to hear from you. What do you think is the main thing holding back open access to scientific articles?