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Ethics in Science and Environmental Politics

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ESEP 17:1-8 (2017)  -  DOI:

Open access revolutions

Ferdinando Boero1,2,*

1University of Salento, DiSTeBA, Via P. le Lecce-Monteroni, 73100 Lecce, Italy
2CNR-ISMAR, Via De Marini 6, 16149 Genoa, Italy
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Open Access (OA) databases and publications are revolutionizing the storage and communication of scientific results. OA databases of physical and chemical measurements have been available for a long time, thanks to automated procedures of data acquisition and processing, whereas this is still not possible with marine biodiversity data. The pay-per-view policy is being replaced by the pay-to-be-viewed policy, with authors paying the expenses of the OA to their work. The ethical side of OA is clear: the whole world should be able to profit from new knowledge, not only those who can afford it, especially because research is often paid with public funds. Since funding agencies increasingly ask their beneficiaries to publish their work with OA, OA journals with unclear quality standards are proliferating, and some are publishing unreliable results. Private companies, with either pay-per-view (Scopus, The Web of Knowledge) or OA (Google Scholar) policies, rate the outputs of research. Funding agencies (e.g. Wellcome) are experimenting a further development of the OA strategy, launching OA platforms that they manage directly, with signed peer reviews. Similar experiments are being conducted with databases of raw data. Public funding agencies should also fully embrace this policy. OA policies are still developing, but the route towards a more democratic fashion of making the results of scientific research openly available is mapped out.

KEY WORDS: Open Access · Data Banks · Science and technology · Publication policy · Science rating

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Cite this article as: Boero F (2017) Open access revolutions. Ethics Sci Environ Polit 17:1-8.

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