Publishing your most important work

Schekman, Randy, author and speaker
Chong, Edwin, speaker
Information Science & Technology Center, producer
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The assessment of scholarly achievement depends critically on the proper evaluation and publication of research work in scholarly journals. Investigators face a dizzying array of journal styles that include commercial, not-for-profit and academic society journals that are supported by a mix of subscription and page charges. The Open Access (OA) movement, launched in Britain but greatly expanded by the Public Library of Science (PLoS), seeks to eliminate the firewall that separates published work from public access. OA journals are funded by a mix of page charges and philanthropic or foundation support. Most OA journals embrace a more liberal licensing agreement on the use and reuse of published work, favoring the creative commons license rather than a copyright held by the publisher. Some publishers, particularly commercial firms, view the OA movement as a threat to the viability of their business plan. Major commercial publishers, particularly Elsevier, have fought against government mandates for OA publication of publicly funded research. The most selective and successful journals, Science, Nature and Cell (a life science journal owned by Elsevier), maintain a firm hold on the high end of the scientific literature by appealing to investigators to submit only their most important work. Typically, these journals publish only a small fraction of the papers they receive and for the most part they rely on professional editors rather than active scholars to make key editorial decisions. These publishers, particularly Nature and Cell, reinforce their high standing by relying on a metric, the impact factor (IF) that computes the average number of citations of papers published in the journal during the preceding two-year period. As a consequence, many investigators, who quite naturally seek career advancement, strive to publish in these journals even at the expense of repeated cycles of review, wasteful additional experimental work and ultimately lost time. I will argue that it is time for scholars to reassume authority for the publication of their research work and to eschew the use of IF in the evaluation of scholarly achievement and favor OA publications over what I have called the "luxury" journals.
This ISTeC Distinguished Lecture was held on March 24, 2014 in Fort Collins, Colorado.
Dr. Randy Schekman is currently an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and a Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California, Berkeley. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 2013, together with Thomas C. Sudhof and James Rothman, "for their discoveries of machinery regulating vesicle traffic, a major transport system in our cells."
ISTeC (Information Science and Technology Center) is a university-wide organization for promoting, facilitating, and enhancing CSU's research, education, and outreach activities pertaining to the design and innovative application of computer, communication, and information systems.
Includes recorded lecture and PowerPoint presentation.
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open access
scholarly publishing
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