Tuesday, April 28, 2015

How does OA benefit my research?

Jan Jensen has written an interesting post describing how his decision to publish only on Open Access outlets has influenced the way he tackles research questions.  One of the benefits he points out is that choosing to publish in a journal which performs a "scientific soundness-only peer-review" instead of a "sexyness/interest and scientific soundness peer review" allows him to focus on "truly challenging and long-term research questions without worrying whether or where I will be able to publish".  I think that option already existed before OA and the advent of the mega-journals: we simply had to decide to be satisfied with publishing on IJQC or Theochem whenever the Editors of JPC, JCP, JACS, Angewandte et al.  pronounced our research "too specialized and not of enough interest to our broad readership", and to accept the derision of peers who look down on papers published on those and other low-impact journals. (I admit I am often guilty of this).
To me, the true advantage does not lie on OA itself, but on the open review model (used e.g. by PeerJ), which allows authors to publish the reviews at the same time as the paper. I feel this functions as a much stronger "validation" of the quality of the work, as readers immediately have access to a truly independent measure of the strengths and weaknesses of the manuscript.
How does OA benefit my research? I am not sure it benefits my research methodology and/or choice of research questions since, as one of only two computational chemists at a small teaching-driven University, I  have long decided to research whatever obscure subtopics catch my fancy due to obvious lack of resources to compete against larger/well-funded groups working in sexier topics/enzymes. My decision to embrace an open science model, in contrast (e.g. figshare) has benefitted me more directly by forcing me to archive my results in a more transparent way, with proper "understandable" filenames instead of idiossyncratic names chosen on the fly... That is something I should have done anyway even without the open science model, but that was the nudge which brought me to the "Light" side.

No comments:

Post a Comment