Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Soap Box Moment

One of the quirks of being an animal flight specialist is that there are not many of us.  If you consider those that focus on fossil taxa, there are even fewer.  If I focused my publications to communicate only to other members of my field, I'd be talking to about 12 people, tops.  I might as well just send postcards.

But, as it turns out, there are thousands (if not millions) of people out there that find information on animal flight fascinating or even practical (see: robotics and aeronautics engineers).  So, I have a large, but dispersed and eclectic audience out there to reach.  How on Earth can I get to them all?

Easy: Open Access Publishing. 

Many of you already know that I'm rather firmly in the OA camp.  I admit that I have not done my part to promote OA in the same way as individuals like Andy Farke, Matt Wedel, and Mike Taylor (hats off to you guys!) but I at least favor OA journals like PLoS ONE for my publishing needs and give a nudge here or there when I can.

On that note, there is a great article out by Michael Eisen here that gets right to the core of the wimpish way that universities have dealt with a growing problem.  I would point out, as well, that while the academic institutions are the largest offenders in this case, other businesses have also fueled the fire (see: biomed engineering companies, etc).

Read and enjoy.

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