Recently, I’ve developed and expressed a strong interest in open science — the idea that science as an enterprise should engage in radical openness at every level (contribution, accessibility of data, sharing of reagents, transparency of works-in-progress). A critical component of open science is open access publication of scientific knowledge — that is, making new findings immediately (or at least very rapidly) available to everyone in the world, without monetary or other barrier.

Today across the science blogosphere, we’re celebrating Open Access Day — an opportunity to spread the word about open access publication. As is often the case on this subject, Shirley Wu (organizer of the “open science round-up” Corpus callosum) has an engaging and thorough run-down of the ideas underlying Open Access Day and links to the day’s blogospheric events — check it out at her blog I was lost but now I live here. To quote Shirley:

But for me, a bigger question is: why not? And while there are some arguments against Open Access, they are, by and large, arguments against specific implementations of it (e.g. author-pays models) and not against the concept itself. The fact is that collaboration between scientists, the importance of communication between scientists and the lay public, and the responsibility of advancing basic research towards application are all growing. Open Access enhances each of these by making information available more quickly and in full. And as Open Access gains acceptance, it will open doors to other potential improvements, such as increased publication of negative results, increased access to research “as it happens” (see Open Notebook Science), and the implementation of standards for “the fully supported paper”, as described at Science in the Open

For my own part, I’ve started to proselytize about open science and share ideas about how other forms of radical openness like crowdsourcing can help move science forward in my own field (especially regarding biological annotation). More specifically on the subject of open-access publication, I’ve recently joined the PLoS ONE editorial board, and I’ve committed to publishing my work (at least, my first-author work) in open access format.

For more on Open Access Day, check out these posts: