Sailing the Sea of Open Access: Celestial Navigation or Dead Reckoning?

The notion of open access (OA) began to gain traction in the mid–late 1990s (Laakso et al. 2011). The Bethesda Statement (2003) followed a year later with the definition of ‘open access’ as: “free, irrevocable, worldwide, perpetual right of access to, and a license to copy, use, distribute, transmit, and display the work publicly and to make and distribute derivative works, in any digital medium for any responsible purpose, subject to proper attribution of authorship.”

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All Hands on Deck

The geosciences have existed as a set of interrelated disciplines for centuries and have changed in some significant ways over the generations. But they have not changed as much as they need to in order to advance science in creative ways that will most benefit humanity. At this moment, as the world is gripped by a pandemic and there are worldwide protests against racial injustice, it is particularly important to recognize the power of diverse perspectives and ideas and to take real and effective action to increase diversity, equity, and inclusivity in the Earth sciences. The world needs highly skilled Earth scientists – including those with expertise in mineralogy, petrology, and geochemistry: this is an “all hands on deck” moment.

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Our Study is Published, BUT the Journey is not Finished!

Each June, we receive e-mails from publishers welcoming the evolution of their journals’ journal impact factor (JIF). The JIF is a controversial metric (Callaway 2016), and it is worth asking, “What’s behind it?” In this age of “publish or perish” (Harzing 2007), we take much time and effort to write our papers and get them published. But how much time and effort do we put into finding readers or ensuring that we are reaching the right audience? Are metrics, such as the JIF, good guides for how well we are doing at reaching our target audience?

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Global Flow of Scholarly Publishing and Open Access

Open access is not a new topic for Elements. The topic was addressed by Alex Speer, Kevin Murphy, and Sharon Tahirkheli in 2013 (Speer et al. 2013) and, later, by Christian Chopin in 2018 (Chopin 2018). I fully agree that there is a strong imperative for the geochemistry, mineralogy, and petrology communities to ensure that the research it produces is widely accessible, especially in the increasingly important context of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Indeed, according to the STM Report 2018 (Johnson et al. 2018), two thirds of the scholarly literature in 2016 remains inaccessible to the public because it is hidden behind a paywall. Scholars have been making various cases for wider public access to published research, known as open access (OA), since the late 1980s.

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Credibility of Scientific Writing: An Appeal for Responsibility

The world of scientific publishing is evolving rapidly. Alongside the usual “big sharks”—the monopolistic publishing houses that have been dominating the market and pressurizing institutional subscribers for decades—there are a wealth of new, online players emerging under the banner of “Open Access”. Open access journals are web-based scientific journals that are free to read by anyone but require authors to pay a fee for publishing their paper. These open access journals are a true challenge, not only for journals published by non-profit, learned, societies, but also for scientific publishing in general.

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Recognizing Biases that Affect Women Geoscientists in the Workplace

Download Article (PDF) Women are underrepresented in the geosciences (www.americangeosciences.org/workforce/reports).  Many different factors affect a woman’s ability to continue and succeed in science. These include a lack of senior women role models; the need for people in partnerships to decide whose career to follow and then to obtain satisfying long-term jobs; inescapable career interruptions for…

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