I have just posted a preprint of a book chapter on the interactions of open access and public engagement with science. It’s called “Open Access: the beast that no-one could – or should – control?” and is my contribution to an upcoming book – “‘Here be monsters’: Science, politics and the dilemmas of openness” which is being edited by Brigitte Nerlich, Alexander Smith, Sarah Hartley, and Sujatha Raman. The book is one of the major outputs of a Making Science Public project funded by the Leverhulme Trust and directed by Brigitte at Nottingham University.
You can download my chapter from figshare. I hope that you will because I would be glad to have your feedback to help me rework it in time for the July 1st deadline for submission of the final version.
I should have done this weeks ago when I completed my draft chapter. After all, I have been banging on about preprints for a while now and adopted preprint publication as standard practice in my lab for my structural biology research. But this felt different. It was a book chapter and part of a project being led by someone else.
However, given the subject matter (open access, public engagement) and given the increased intensity of discussions on preprints in the life sciences in the past few months, the move to publish as a preprint makes perfect sense. If I am honest I suspect the publication on Monday of a preprint from Cameron Neylon, Martin Paul Eve and colleagues on the meaning (or lack of it) of research ‘excellence’ provided a timely stimulus – see how one thing leads to another in this open access world?
So here it is. I am grateful to Brigitte for the go ahead. To summarise briefly: my chapter looks at the rise of open access and recent policy developments and tries to examine how these were shaped by and are shaping the interactions of the research community with society at large. The effects, so far as I can discern them, appear relatively modest, though there are murmurings of great potential. Please have a read for yourself. And if you think there are points I have missed or over-emphasised or misconstrued, let me know in the comment thread below or, if you prefer, privately by email.
Update (04 July 2016): My thanks to Bev Acreman, Laurence Cox, Richard Fisher, David Mainwaring, and Richard Poynder for comments on the first posting of this preprint. A revised version is now available.