Thursday, March 25, 2010

Come the Revolution

Molotov cocktail You may not have realized it (lots of academic publishers still haven't), but we are in the middle of a revolution in publishing. Along the way, we may be at the start of a revolution in academia too. How do I know? Well it's pretty obvious when the BMJ exhorts us to:
be out there fighting to get peoples’ attention and to shape the world.
At the same time, Nature abandons the citation index and suggests:
alternative measures of creativity and productivity should be included in scientific metrics, such as the filing of patents, the creation of prototypes and even the production of YouTube videos.
At the same time, Nature quietly opens up it's prized content, making Nature News available to all, online, free, and slips in online commenting across the entire magazine. Of course, modern journals such as PLoS have had these features, and much more, for some time, but it's nice to see the pressure beginning to tell on the old guard.

The fight is not over yet. It now moves on to grant funding bodies, higher education managers and government to recognize our achievement in bringing these new channels of publication and digital scholarship to maturity. Their capitulation is inevitable. See you at the barricades comrade!