Last year, I published a paper in Nature. However, when I went to check out the fruits of my labor on the day it was published, I could not access the paper. Tesla does not pay for any journal subscriptions, and thus I was unable to read the final version of a paper I had worked on for nearly 3 years.
While somewhat amusing (and easily resolved by asking for a copy from my academic coauthors), I found this scenario ridiculous. This moment was my wake-up call in support of open access.
The benefits of open access are well documented and don’t need repeating here. The argument that perhaps resonates most strongly with me is inclusion: so many people are locked out of science that should be able to learn and contribute, including industrial scientists, high school teachers and students, and scientists from developing countries. I think it’s hard to argue that the scientific enterprise supports diversity, equity, and inclusion when such a key output is only accessible to people already in the system. More positively, in an era of limited scientific literacy, what an opportunity to bring more people into the fold!
As an industrial scientist, my most productive publishing years are likely behind me. But as much as I can help it, I resolve to publish my work in open access journals. Because I don’t have any research grants, I also refuse to pay more than $300 for open access fees (the Journal of Open Source Software estimated their hosting costs were $2.71/paper, or $100 including editor compensation). From my review, that leaves only three reputable journals even remotely related to my field (contact me if I missed any!):
- Journal of the Electrochemical Society (JES): $256 for ECS members (membership is ~$100/year)
- Chemical Science: $0
- Journal of Open Source Software (JOSS): $0
Overall, I love JES (and their “Free the Science” initiative) and will likely keep publishing most of my work there for the foreseeable future.