"Smart alone, brilliant together"
Academic publishing is on the move. Dissatisfaction with the dominant publishing paradigm has given rise to a manifold of new ideas, projects and services. The time is ripe for consolidation of the most promising developments.
Imagine academic publishing that is fast, transparent, and free. Is that a pipe dream or something within reach? We already have preprint publishing (fast), open peer review (transparent), and diamond/overlay journals (free). If we could connect these disparate initiatives, would that make our dream come true? And how could this best be done? These are questions that are currently being discussed by us and others at Leiden University.
While we are proud that Leiden is the Dutch champion when it comes to preprint publishing, we realize that we cannot make this journey alone. Colleagues at other Dutch universities also bring invaluable expertise. Wageningen University, for instance, is the leading Dutch university in terms of its contribution to Peer Community In, and Radboud University is at the forefront of the national Openjournals initiative (the assertions in this paragraph are based on some elementary observations. See here). Open Science Communities are found in every Dutch university, and these communities play a crucial role in discussing new recognition and reward systems in relation to open science.
For researchers, this plethora of new publishing options is a mer à boire. Where to start? What to do next? Is it safe? What does my funder or manager require? In the meantime, the classical publishers offer one-stop shopping: simply submit your article to our journal and we will take care of the rest. That this route is neither fast, transparent nor cheap is then often accepted, though reluctantly.
But what if some Dutch universities would combine their efforts? We might create a publishing avenue, from preprint publishing to open peer review to dissemination via a diamond or overlay journal, facilitating further dialogue and revised versions. Persistent identifiers are the signposts along this road. Funders could recognize everyone’s contribution in this process, from author to peer reviewer to publisher. It would make predatory publishing impracticable and seriously hinder paper mills.
If this perspective inspires you, please contact Anna van ‘t Veer, chair of the Dutch Network of Open Science Communities: OSC-NL. At Leiden University some initial discussions have already started, and in the spirit of “smart alone, brilliant together” we would love to work with colleagues elsewhere in the Netherlands to broaden this approach to the national level.