I was thinking wouldn't it be fantastic if there was a way we could cull the collective thoughts of people like John Newth, Nichola Ross Martin and Francesca Lagerberg and then freely add comments or share experience to both support and reject arguments so that over time, their expertise not only gets distilled, but is also refined. This would not diminish their stature in the eyes of professionals that rely on their expertise. If anything, I'd wager it would enhance their individual reputations. But then I became depsondent.
Stick with me, it gets crystal clear at the end.
The Royal Society has put forward a convoluted argument against the idea of open access (OA) and in doing so, set off a firestorm. The Indian RS fires back:
"I read Barbara Kirsop's letter (see Royal Society must embrace open archiving) on the appalling stand taken by the UK Royal Society on open access. Thankfully, the science academies in India are supporting open access. In fact, all the journals published by the Indian National Science Academy, currently presided over by a fellow of the UK Royal Society, are open access journals and one can search and download articles from volume 1, number 1."
Wow. Then comes this from Peter Suber:
"As with the earlier statement, most of the RS doubts focus on the viability of OA journals even though the RCUK proposal mandates deposit in OA archives, not submission to OA journals. I can't count the number of times this misunderstanding has been corrected, not only when the RS makes it but also when made by Lord Sainsbury and the UK government."
But then 61 of its own members, including FIVE Nobel Laureates weighed in against the RS stated position. Now it's all over the BBC. So here's the crunch:
I wonder the extent to which the profession is so used to paying for everything that carries the tag: "expert" whether it's lost sight of the fact that collectively, there's a huge amount to be gained from sharing and refining information. The innovation comes from doing it.
Some authors are claiming that by giving away some of their copyright, they actually increase print sales. So being open and sharing is a win-win-win. The proof already exists.
If you're out there seeing this John/Nichola/Francesca and you've not given all your copyright away to the various places where you are published, now might be a good time to be thinking about this. I'd be happy to get the ball rolling. And it's a win-win-win.