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Open Access: Q&A with GigaScience executive editor, Scott Edmunds

The 10th Annual International Open Access Week is marked as 23-29 October 2017. This year, the theme is “Open In Order To…” which is “an invitation to answer the question of what concrete benefits can be realized by making scholarly outputs openly available?” To celebrate Open Access Week, we talked to Scott Edmunds, Executive Editor for GigaScience.

Scott, from an editor’s perspective, what are the pros and cons of open access research?

From an editors perspective it means our efforts are maximized because everyone can access the end products of our efforts. I can’t see any negatives as what we are supposed to be doing is assessing and disseminating academic research, and to do this properly the process should be transparent, accountable and not hidden away.

What would you say is the number one benefit of the open access model for researchers?

Everyone can access and re-utilize their work for the common good, not just a wealthy elite with expensive library subscriptions but the global research community, people outside of traditional academia, the citizen tax-payers that funded the research, and even machines. As in this data-driven world, machine readability is important for data-mining and cross disciplinary analyses to squeeze every last bit of insight out of your research.

In what ways can editors and authors support open access research?  

Only publish and work with open access journals. Use pre-print servers and archive your papers in institutional repositories. When given the choice in licensing your work always choose true Budapest Open Access Initiative defined licenses, i.e. creative commons CC-BY.

Why did you carry out this research, as if wanting people to read and re-use your work is important then it needs to be open and accessible?

Why do you believe the publishing industry seen an increase in the number of open access journals in recent years?

How we handle digital content has taken a while to evolve since the rise of the world wide web, but socially and in terms of policy its becoming the norm, with the biggest driver being funder mandates.

As an editor of an open access journal, what do you find is your greatest challenge? 

The infrastructure we have is not brilliantly suited for the digital, connected era we now live and work in. Open licenses reduce some of the friction, but the tools we use to read, write, review and disseminate our content are still clunky and need improvement.

What would you tell an author who is hesitant about paying to submit their research to an open access journal? 

Why did you carry out this research, as if wanting people to read and re-use your work is important then it needs to be open and accessible? In the 21st century, putting up unnecessary barriers to your work limits your relevance and voice.

Featured image credit: “Sign Open Neon Business Electric Electrical” by @Free-Photos. CC0 via Pixabay

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  1. […] took place during OpenAccess week (see Scott’s #OAweek Q&A in the OUP  blog), and the local Berlin event was a welcome guest at Kalkscheune. We had local OA champions mingling […]

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