New white paper “Access to Science and Scholarship: Key Questions about the Future of Research Publishing”

The project—including MIT Press’s Director and Publisher Amy Brand and Director of Journals and Open Access Nick Lindsay—examines the current state of the research enterprise and what might come next

The MIT Press is proud to collaborate with our colleagues across the Institute on the release of “Access to Science and Scholarship: Key Questions about the Future of Research Publishing,” a new white paper on open access publishing, by Phillip A. Sharp, William B. Bonvillian, Robert Desimone, Barbara Imperiali, David R. Karger, Clapperton Chakanetsa Mavhunga, Amy Brand, Nick Lindsay, and Michael Stebbins.

Press Director and Publisher Amy Brand.

From the Executive Summary: 

The health of the research enterprise is closely tied to the effectiveness of the scientific and scholarly publishing ecosystem. Policy-, technology-, and market-driven changes in publishing models over the last two decades have triggered a number of disruptions within this ecosystem.

Many in the research community remain unaware of the drivers of change in academic publishing and the potential consequences for the research enterprise. Although they are often left out of the conversation, researchers are directly affected by these developments. Decisions are being made now that could potentially reduce research budgets, increase researcher workloads, and alter publishing options and the reputational function that publishing has long played. 

To illustrate how researcher behavior, funder policies, and publisher business models and incentives interact, part 1 of this report presents an historical overview of open access publishing. Part 2 of the report provides a list of key questions for further investigation to understand, measure, and best prepare for the impact of new policies related to open access in research publishing, categorized into six general areas: access and business models, research data, preprint publishing, peer review, costs to researchers and universities, and infrastructure.

Download the complete white paper here.

Read an interview with lead author Phil Sharp, Institute Professor Emeritus, Department of Biology and Koch Institute of Integrative Cancer Research, and Amy Brand, director and publisher of the MIT Press about the white paper in MIT News.

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