You know the news already:
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Max Planck Society and the Wellcome Trust announced today that they are to support a new, top-tier, open access journal for biomedical and life sciences research. The three organisations aim to establish a new journal that will attract and define the very best research publications from across these fields. All research published in the journal will make highly significant contributions that will extend the boundaries of scientific knowledge.
Cameron has already commented on the issue, but I would like to add a few more thoughts. The concept of “top-tier journal” obviously resulted in some negative comments from the open science community, with which I fundamentally agree. However in practical terms, it is actually a step in a right direction – it will create an direct and indirect incentives to publish in open journals. As nobody expects scientists to grow up (well, I do, but that’s a topic for another post), we need more carrots to shift the system towards openness.
But that’s not the end of the story. As I have written last year, we needed some large scale experiment in Open Science – not to make some significant change, but to significantly change dynamics of the system. Launching new OA journal by science funders might have directly several positive outcomes but at the same time it is going to spark some interesting discussions on obvious topics such as sustainability of OA, future of journals, marketing costs, quality filtering, impact of publications, etc. However, given that these areas aren’t unexplored (OA publishing isn’t something exotic or new and PLoS has been heavily experimenting in OA for the last couple of years), I look forward to discussions outside of the topic of publishing narratives of research. As people acknowledge OA and try to think about the next step, open data or open notebook science will get a way more attention than they receive at the moment.