We believe in open science

Most scientific research in the U.S. is paid for by public dollars, so it's only fair that the results should be freely available to the public. In the days before the internet, scientists and students at less-wealthy institutions or in less-wealthy countries (and anyone who was not affiliated with a university) had very limited access to the scientific literature. With the internet, those days are over... or at least they should be.

But a lot of scientific results are still published in subscription-based journals that charge people money to read them. It's an absurd system: Taxpayers fund the research; we (scientists) do the research and send it to the journals for free; our colleagues (other scientists) provide quality control in the form of peer review and editing, also for free. Then the journals slap a copyright on (our) work and charge people (including our own universities, which means our students) a lot of money to read it. Michael Eisen has compared this to an obstetrician who delivers your baby, then claims to own it and leases it back to you for a high annual fee. This has led to a boycott of Elsevier by over 16,800 researchers worldwide, including Prof. Sarnecka.

We are aware that when we as scientists participate in this system, we contribute to the exploitation of all scientists, and of our students (whose tuition dollars pay the absurd journal subscription fees) and the members of the public who are blocked by paywalls from reading the research that they paid for with taxes. As George Monbiot points out, this way of doing things contravenes the universal declaration of human rights, which says that "everyone has the right freely to … share in scientific advancement and its benefits."

Thus, we are committed to the following principles in our work:

  • Open Access: We make all of our papers immediately freely available on this website and on eScholarship, the University of California's open-access repository. We do this as soon as the papers are through peer review and accepted for publication. You can read, download and reuse all of our papers, and we encourage you to do so.
  • Open Data: We make all of our data freely available via the Open Science Framework. Science means more than just doing experiments and publishing the results. It means enabling people to repeat your work, and more importantly, to take it beyond where you took it. You can see, download and reuse all of our data, and we encourage you to do so.
  • Support for Noncommercial, Open-Access Publishers: In choosing where to publish our work, as well as where to contribute service as reviewers or editors, we give priority to high-quality, peer-reviewed, noncommercial, open-access journals. We know that scholars (especially pre-tenure) may face pressure to publish in certain subscription-based journals, and we don't blame them for having to work within a bad system. And there are times when even established scholars may feel a personal obligation to help out a friend by reviewing an article or contributing work to a publication from one of the 'big four' academic publishers (Elsevier, Wiley, Springer, and Taylor & Francis). But whenever is practical to do so, we will contribute our time, energy, scientific expertise and work products to support open science. We hope that our colleagues, especially those who use our open papers and open data, will do the same.

Watch the video Open Access Explained! by PhD Comics