Saturday, January 19, 2013

On knowledge sharing — #upgoerfive

This post was written with the  #upgoerfive text editor, using only the most common 1000 words in English.

At one time there was a man who some people thought was god. Other people thought he was sent to the world by god. This man had two water animals you could eat and five pieces of other food and he wanted the many people who were with him to have enough to eat. But two water animals and five other pieces of food were not enough for the people if they all had to eat. So the man who some people thought was god and others that he was sent by god, made the food last until all the people had had enough to eat. This was a wonder. The people saw this and did not know if they could believe what they saw. But when it seemed true that he had a power that no other men or women had, they believed the man was really god or sent by god, because he could do what other men could never do at all. This story became very well known. And many people believe it is about food.

But I think it is not about food. I think it is about food for thought. About what we know, not about what we eat. Because if we give food that we have to others, we do not have it anymore for us to eat. But if we tell others what we know, they know it, too, and we still know it as well. So we can not share our food and still have it all, but we can share what we know and still have it all. We should share what we know if it is good for us all. Especially people who work on knowing more and more every day, as their job. They are paid by us all to work in their jobs on knowing more and more, and they really should share what they come to know with us, and in such a way that we can understand it, too.

Jan Velterop

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Imagine if funding bodies did this

There is apparently a widespread fear that if a ‘gold’ (author-side paid) open access model for publishing scientific research is supported by funding bodies, the so-called article processing fees, paid for by funders on behalf of authors, might see unbridled increases. This fear is not unwarranted if not addressed properly. If funders agree to pay whatever publishers charge, they undermine the potential for competition among publishers and provide them with an incentive to maximize their income, while at the same time removing any price sensitivity on the part of the publishing researcher. However, it is not very difficult to address this problem.

In order to avoid untrammeled article processing fee increases, funding bodies should foster competition amongst publishers, and create price sensitivity to article processing charges in researchers publishing their results.

Imagine if they did the following:
  • Require open access publishing of research results;
  • Include in any grants a fixed amount for publishing results in open access journals;
  • Allow researchers to spend either more or less than that amount on article processing charges, any surplus to be used for the research itself, or any shortfall to be paid from the research budget;
  • Require any excess paid over and above the fixed amount to be justified by the researcher to the funder;
  • Provide a fixed amount for more than one publication if the research project warrants that, but so that researchers have an incentive to limit the number of published articles instead of salami-slicing the results into as many articles as possible, again by giving them discretion over how the fixed amounts are spent. 
Jan Velterop