COVID 19 has done what REF2021 (Research Excellence Framework) and other REFS are geared to do and that is to cut the amount of research, notably the guff. It also gives a pat on the back for the opinion-leaders and puts a few bob in the Univrsity Coffers. The REF has increased the cost of research, created a transfer market amongst scientists and made universities waste tons of cash on employinging people to deal with the REF submissions.
As part of REF2021 they want all papers included in the assessment to be OPEN ACCESS….A bright idea thought up by some scientists and funders and they want public funded research to be visible by the public.
The bright idea was not thought through and the journals have said Ker Ching thanks for the cash. We have seen open access journals pop up every where. Now one of the main journals that are considered REF ready is Nature and Science. They know that scientists crave publications in their journals because they are REF ready. These papers attract government grants.
However, surprisingly Nature did not allow open access. However, in 2021 it is going open access. Great we say. However, they continue to take the P and now ask ~£9,000 for open access fees. This can be reduced if you pay 2,5000 to get an editorial review. Is this a good use of public finances?
Has the current publishing model had its day?
Pre print sites allow you to get open access and Nature and Science now accept papers published on them. Some of the journals have created their own preprint sites and this resource is now fragmenting, so you dont know where to look . The next stage will be to charge to house the preprint, BioRXiv and MedRXiv want to create their own peer reviewed journal. This will sound the death knell of this idea. That the NIH outputs go from BioRXiv/MedRXiv staight to pubmed and could cut out the publishing middle man. But rather than doing this to revoluntionise and streamline publishing it will become a dogs breakfast once money becomes a driving force.