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article imageCall for science journals to be open access

By Tim Sandle     May 4, 2018 in Science
Several scientists have announced they are to boycott a forthcoming journal called Nature Machine Intelligence. This is because the journal plans to place the articles published there behind a paywall.
The demand by many scientists in the technology field is that unless scientific journals make their articles available to everyone, the scientists will refuse to publish with them. This is crystallized around a new journal called Nature Machine Intelligence, which will only be accessible via a paywall. The expression of annoyance by many in the scientific community has been formalized through a petition. The petition has been signed by more than 2,700 scientists, researchers and members of the public.
Many of the researchers, according to the website Futurism, who signed the boycott include artificial intelligence experts from Google, Facebook, IBM, as well as several prestigious universities.
Leading the campaign is Thomas G. Dietterich, who is the former president of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence. The academic kicked off the campaign with a tweet: "Several machine learning researchers have signed a statement regarding the upcoming launch of Nature Machine Intelligence. If you agree, I encourage you to sign this as well.".
The open access vs. paywall debate has occupied discussion across media, although the most intense debates have occupied science. On one hand, open access allows anyone to read and access a science article. The downside is that journals need to cover their costs by charging scientists (or their institutions) for the privilege of publishing. This may be fine for scientists sponsored by major universities or large companies (especially pharmaceuticals) but it creates a barrier for independent researchers.
On the other hand, scientists can use the model where they publish for free but readers have to take out a subscription in order to access the research. This aids independent scientists in getting published but it restricts readers from access content, although many libraries do take out subscriptions allowing uses of library facilities to access an array of journal.
The debate has been shifted in recent years through the activities of many governments which favor open access models. This includes the U.S. government in terms of grant applications and reporting criteria. Here the U.S. National Institute of Health expressly includes preprints as valid products of scientific research, in order to accelerate the dissemination of research findings.
The use of preprints in part of the open access model. A similar position is adopted by the National Research Council of the Swiss National Science Foundation.
In terms of making open access easier, there has been a recent proliferation of services and tools designed to help users find open access alternates to paywall alternatives. This includes tools and services like, unpaywall, and Canaryhaz.
More about Open access, science journals, Paywall
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