Jon Treadway, COO at Digital Science answers our questions.
-Your organisation has been supporting DOAJ for a few years now. Why is it important for Digital Science to support DOAJ?
The DOAJ is a crucial piece of infrastructure in the scholarly publishing industry. At Digital Science, since our inception 7 years ago we have looked to support and work in partnership with industry bodies rather than trying to reinvent or control them. Our relationship with DOAJ is one example of that approach, but one could equally point to our work with ORCID or VIVO. We’ve also tried to set up broader initiatives that support players such as DOAJ, such as our GRID project or our collaboration on Blockchain for Peer Review.
-What is Digital Science doing to support Open Access development? Do you have any exciting projects underway?
The launch of Dimensions earlier this year was exciting, or at least we hope it was! Among many things, it is a research information system that offers researchers free access, without registration, to citation data. It integrates with the DOAJ, and so allows users to limit results only to those journals included in the database. Increased visibility for the DOAJ means increased visibility for Open Access journals and publishers, which can only be good for its development.
-What are your personal views on the future of Open Access publishing?
Open Access has established its credibility, its viability and its ability to achieve the goal of making research more accessible to millions of researchers. The biggest challenge may be the erroneous belief that Open Access makes it unaffordable for researchers in less wealthy institutions or developing nations to publish, that financial barriers to access are being removed only to be replaced by financial barriers to publication. Open Access is a broad church, with a wide variety of publishing options.
-What do you think that the scholarly community could do to better support the continued development of the Open Access movement in the near future?
This is not a new answer, but the more the community can move away from overly simplistic measures of impact, the more researchers will feel able to choose where to publish based on other factors, like price or quality of service or accessibility. I think that there will to be further shifts in library budgets to allow explore a wider range of models. I also think that there is still a basic culture change that needs to take place in the field. Many academics (especially in arts and humanities) don’t yet see the value of open access and find it challenging.
-Much has been said recently about whether open access is succeeding or failing, particularly in terms of the original vision laid out by the Budapest Open Access Initiative in 2002. Do you think that open access has fallen short of this vision, or has it surpassed expectations?
Paradoxically, I think it has fallen short of the vision but has exceeded expectations. Cultural change takes a long time, and even longer time in academia and academic publishing. In that context, the progress of the Open Access movement over the last 15 years has been nothing short of stunning. It is easy to overlook that.