And some good news for open access…and a cautionary tale

A new Charity Open Access Fund has been created by 6 medical organisations: Cancer Research UK, the British Heart Foundation, Arthritis Research UK, Breast Cancer Campaign, Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research and open access’s old friend, the Wellcome Trust, which is a long-time campaigner for better open access for publicly funded research.

The aim is to make funds available to cover the costs of journals so that more research papers can be made freely available. This is where the progress really seems to be taking place!

On a related note, it seems that although the “interweb” has in many ways made researching papers much easier and less expensive (i.e. you don’t have to subscribe to expensive academic databases to carry out a reasonably decent search), there’s always a down-side. This usually stems from folk who see an opportunity to make a fast buck, but in doing so, mess things up for serious searchers – annoyingly disruptive.

Unfortunately, the open access movement is not immune. Under its umbrella a swathe of dodgy academic titles has evidently appeared. However, help is at hand in the form of an interesting and insightful recent post on the dangers of “predatory” academic journals from Jeffrey Beale, an academic librarian at the University of Colorado Denver. As well as explaining this bogus-journal problem, his blog, Scholarly Open Access, is an excellent place for learning about the world of academic research in the 21st century.

Many thanks, Jeffrey, most helpful and informative.

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