Posted by: bluesyemre | October 29, 2012

Open Access: credit where credit is due

  • The monetary incentive for author-pays journals is towards accepting as many papers as possible, which obiously conflicts with the reputational incentive of only accepting “good” papers. Amongst the many “books that you absolutely have to read” for scientists is Bruno Latour’s Laboratory Life (which is basically his PhD thesis). In this book, he documented the process of doing science as seen through an anthropologist’s eyes. One of his insights is that a lot of what we do as professional scientists is try to accumulate credit: we want our work to be read and cited, and discoveries (like biochemical pathways) to be named after us. Whether we like it or not, this is an important part of being a career scientist: building up a reputation for doing good work, which is recognised by our peers who will then judge us for promotion, getting grants, being invited to speak at meetings etc.

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