Open Access publishing

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The GM of a prospect recently asked me how to control disclosure of internal research documents prior to publication.  It had come as a revelation to him that anyone can post on a blog without permission from a central secretariat.  I asked him how they control face-to-face information exchange with colleagues or competitors outside the company?

Regardless of the hype around virtual reality, social networking and user-generated content; peer-reviewed research requires (in my experience), face-to-face meetings as a basis for a relationship to get started and continue to develop. Regarding the GM’s concern – I explained that there are ethical issues of disclosing trade secrets that can be addressed with appropriate discipline and training and enforced with data loss prevention technologies from companies like Fidelis Security and Verdasys.

Still – open access publication seems an extremely good idea.

I was not familar with BioMed central until recently – although the idea of open access publishing, funded by the research is quite similar to the core idea behind many open source software projects, where the development is covered by commercial or research organizations and the software is published for free.

BioMed Central’s open access publishing model treats publication as the last phase of the research process where the cost of publishing is piggy-backed on the cost of the research. From the Web site:

Open access is a sustainable model for the publication of biological and medical research

The traditional business model for scientific publishers relies on restricting access to published research, in order to recoup the costs of the publication process. This restriction of access to published research prevents full use being made of digital technologies, and is contrary to the interests of authors, funders and the scientific community as a whole. The traditional subscription-based model is also becoming increasingly unsustainable, as increasing amounts of research is being published whilst library budgets remain static.

Biomed Central now allows posting of articles to social networking sites ncluding Cite-U-Like, Connotea and Facebook, with links conveniently placed at the foot of the Web site navigation bar.  From the Biomed Central blog – Maureen Knapp, who is part of the the Medical Library Association’s Task Force on Social Networking Software, has posted an interesting comparison of the respective roles of the different social networking sites that you can post BioMed Central articles to, from a scientific perspective.

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