I spent most of Open Access Day in the lab grinding out bench work and preparing our new (to us) CO2 incubator for HEK293 cells tomorrow. Filling the water jacket, adjusting the CO2 level, and sterilizing the innards amounted to little more than swabbing the deck instead of attending a ball. When I arrived at PLoS (Public Library of Science) at 5pm to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the internet, or something like that (jk), most of the events had mellowed out. I had some interesting conversations with Gavin, an editor at PLoS Medicine, and Shabnam, the publication manager for Neglected Tropical Diseases about OA and their place in the new world of publishing.
I am just learning about OA, and its various colors (green, gold, grey, white), but the more I learn the more excited I get. For next manuscript with my name on it, I’ll push for a PLoS journal– probably PLoS ONE. I guess that would be a study of sunlight and it’s effects on viruses at a polluted swimming beach in California. Besides the OA and Creative Commons copyright, which are important in their own regard, I also like that there is no print version, which allows for more focus on web-based tools like a comments and questions feature that allows readers and authors to discuss the manuscript online (as a short-circuit to writing damn-awful published responses that seem to just start feuds). I feel like many of my colleagues in Environmental Microbiology don’t know about OA gold journals or PLoS, so I’ll try to (re)educate them as to their amazing benefits over paid access journals.
Perhaps the best analogy I can come up with is this: Democrats are to OA journals as Republicans are to paid access journals. Does this make sense? A vote for Obama is a vote for change and open access! It doesn’t roll of the tongue, but I’m going with it for now.