There is more - a great deal more - to open access than the most obvious benefit, a tremendous increase in accessibility and impact.
One of the new potentials unleashed by OA is new means for collaboratively working on research and writing. A couple of recent postings from Peter Suber's Open Access News http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/fosblog.html illustrate some of this potential:
Arti K. Rai, Open and Collaborative Research: A New Model for Biomedicine. http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=574863, a preprint forthcoming in Robert Hahn (ed.), Intellectual Property Rights inFrontier Industries: Software and Biotech, AEI-Brookings Press.(thanks to David Bollier)
Copyright, http://www.copyrightjournal.org/index.php/Copyright. A new OA journal edited by Lawrence Lessig and Michael Geist, among others, is intended to be both a traditional, peer-reviewed journal and a novel, collaborative approach to journal creation. Scholarly communications and open access are among the topics to be covered -perhaps a publishing opportunity for readers of this list?
In my opinion, this more formal approach to collaboration is a natural outgrowth of the greatly enhanced opportunities for informal collaboration made possible by the electronic medium and the world wide web. Scholars have always communicated informally as well as formally - by talking at metings, conferences, etc. - it's just that e-mail, listservs, blogs, wikis, etc., have expanded the potential for this kind of cooperation.
Could this be a more major change in scholarly communications than either the shift from print to electronic, or from closed to open access?
Heather G. Morrison
Originally posted to the SPARC Open Access Forum, SCHOLCOMM, and ERIL-L, July 30, 2005.
This post reflects my personal opinion only and does not represent the opinions or policy of the BC Electronic Library Network or the Simon Fraser University Library.