The Open Access Irony Awards
Simon Oxenham covers the best and the worst from the world of psychology and neuroscience. Formerly writing with the pseudonym "Neurobonkers", Simon has a history of debunking dodgy scientific research and tearing apart questionable science journalism in an irreverent style. Simon has written and blogged for publishers including: The Psychologist, Nature, Scientific American and The Guardian. His work has been praised in the New York Times and The Guardian and described in Pearson's Textbook of Psychology as "excoriating reviews of bad science/studies”.
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Recently under the US government shutdown many scientists discovered for the first time what it is like to be cut off from science, but for others not having direct access to all the resources they require is the norm. Once upon a time, physical hard copies of academic work were so precious they were chained to their shelves. Long ago we moved on from the days when every text had to be written by hand - and consequently could have the value of many years average salary. We have moved on from the days of the printing press and the major real costs of publishing on paper. Profits of academic publishers have soared as their outgoings have diminished, yet the ivory tower publishers still charge extortionate rates to members of the public or academics in the third world or second rate institutions who want to access science.This is a bizarre situation because scientific research is created by scientists employed by academic institutions or funded by government grants. The papers are then typically reviewed and edited by academics working for free, leaving little more than typesetting for the publisher, who then takes full ownership of the copyright and locks up the paper before promptly selling it straight back to the very same scientists and institutions who created it for free in the first place, not to mention the public who pay for government funded research through taxes.
Update 21/10/13: Since the screenshots were posted to the Open Access Irony Award group it seems some of the paywalls have been removed. I received a message from the editor of Genome Biology, who stated that a paper in question "has *always* been Open Access", I can only presume a glitch in their system caused a paywall to appear at some point. I've modified the original image in order to only display below paywalls that are still in force.
For a critical whistlestop one page crash course on open access, check out the open access week info sheet:
Why not print it off and put it on your library/lab noticeboard? Find more open access week resources here. Follow the goings on of open access week on Twitter under the following hashtags: #OAWeek #OAweek13. Use the #OA hashtag all year round.
More from me on open access:
In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.
- The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
- Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
- Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
Giving our solar system a "slap in the face."
- A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
- It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
- Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
The 116th Congress is set to break records in term of diversity among its lawmakers, though those changes are coming almost entirely from Democrats.
- Women and nonwhite candidates made record gains in the 2018 midterms.
- In total, almost half of the newly elected Congressional representatives are not white men.
- Those changes come almost entirely from Democrats; Republican members-elect are all white men except for one woman.
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