Opscidia, the platform dedicated to free and open publication of scientific research ruffles feathers in this specialized area of publication.
The consortium of scientific publications
The scientific publishing world is a rather strange one. Imagine that you’re a scientist (if you aren’t one already), regardless of speciality, you’re supposed to share your research, by publishing it. Which is a good thing for science in general. Now, if I told you that to be published, you needed to do it without the perception of conflict of interest from being compensated for it, that’s still a good thing for the world, and a little bit less for the writer who has to work for free. If I added that in order to verify your writings, you’d need the contribution of your peers to read through and verify your work (also for free), that starts to add up to a fairly large amount of unpaid work. But where it gets really shocking is that in 90% of cases, all of this work will go to scientific reviews that will, wait for it, resell this work for a substantial price to your scientific peers! And since most reviews now belong to large publishing conglomerates who control the market, there are few options outside of this system.
So, to summarize, large consortiums in the scientific press collect works of verified quality and are authorized to resell them to the same pool of authors. Imagine having a monthly high-value feed of content at no price (or almost no price) to edit that gets snatched up by its principle contributors. While we’re in the realm of the unbelievable, we can add that the biggest customers are national research institutes that pay for dozens of subscriptions with public money allotted to do this research …
The Opscidia project
Once again, a market has been cornered by a small number of firms taking advantage of it. And once again, free alternatives seek to shine a light on these practices and above all, change them! That’s why Gandi supports Opscidia, a (originally French) website that seeks to make scientific publications free and open to access thanks to Open Source tools and the development of artificial intelligence that extracts value from these publications.
We salute this initiative that finally lets the prinicple contributors have free access to the research of their peers! We wish them much success and will continue to support them in their project.