Reform is overdue: No longer working for a journal that puts profit over access to research

I resigned today from the board of Genomics, where I have been an associate editor for the last few years. My resignation and my reasons for it are blogged at the UK Guardian.

It is not easy to do this publicly – a good friend heads the board, and I respect him and what the science of the journal seeks to achieve. But now I just think this way of publishing is wrong. Just wrong. My colleagues in South Africa in general don’t have access to the swathe of journals we take for granted in the west. Yet I was working to edit publications that were often written by people who are not in the mainstream western institutions.

How to move forwards?

First and foremost, we need to be able to see everything that our governments have paid us, using our taxes, to research.

Secondly, we need to address the ‘closed shop‘ that is peer review – we need to be able to engage interactively with a larger community, some of which have to be actual experts in the area.

Finally we need to address the tenure issue – High profile publications need to be defined by the actual impact of the work , as opposed to the perceived impact of the journal. These are *different* things.


About winhide

I develop and use computational biology approaches to impact global public health in research such as understanding of stem cell biology, systematics of cellular profiling and complex diseases.
This entry was posted in African bioinformatics, bioinformatics, Data sharing, genome data sharing, Genomics, open access, open access. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Reform is overdue: No longer working for a journal that puts profit over access to research

  1. I know this could not have been an easy decision. I hope others find inspiration in your example. I do.

  2. David Roberts says:

    You know you’re still listed on the Elsevier page for the editorial board of _Genomics_?

  3. Eric Bnope says:

    Thank you for denying Elsevier your gravitas! Science should be free.

  4. Damien Huang says:

    Kudos to you. It sure was not an easy decision and you are an inspiration to us all (researchers).

  5. David Osterbur says:

    Thank you for doing this Winston – it is time to take science back and make it available to everyone. Access to information is key to innovation.

    • winhide says:

      As someone with a central role to the dissemination of knowledge at Harvard, it particularly means a lot to me that you comment David. I do hope that there is dialog and progress as we move forwards to freer access

  6. jayusp says:

    Its an uphill battle but much progress has been made and Winhide´s resignation is a really wonderful mile stone

  7. Svetlana Frenkel says:

    Now I have understood better why you have asked me about my publications and why BMC genomics and PLOS One were chosen 🙂

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