As scientific communication evolves from print-only journals to print/electronic hybrids to borne-digital resources, researchers and clinicians are asking pointed questions about the role publishers should – or shouldn’t – play in disseminating the fruits of their research efforts.

At stake is access: who controls it, who pays for it.

Traditionally, a publisher or society has owned the content, and subscribers or members have paid to access it. Many scientists, researchers, and clinicians believe the system is broken – they want everyone, from their colleagues to the lay public, to have free access to their research. Some are even wondering if traditional publishers and journals are necessary at a time when research can be self-published using authoring tools available on the Internet and disseminated through social media outlets.

OrthopaedicsOne was founded on the principle that orthopaedic surgeons and other health care professionals in musculoskeletal medicine are entitled to freely access research and information that will help them expand their knowledge and skills for improved patient care. We stand firmly with those advocating open access, and we support the efforts of governmental bodies and foundations worldwide, including the National Institutes of Health in the U.S., to require open access to articles based on the research they funded.

Scholars Fight Back

Not all publishers share this view, however, and in the scientific, technical, and medical (STM) publishing field, the debate over open access has percolated for many years. In January, it boiled over when mathematicians led a boycott of global STM publisher Elsevier, vowing not to edit, review for, or contribute to Elsevier’s journals. (As of August 7, 2012, more than 12,500 scholars from a variety of disciplines had joined the boycott.)

The boycott organizers objected to Elsevier restricting access, through high-priced subscriptions, to content mathematicians developed and freely provided to the publisher’s many mathematics journals. On the boycott website, thecostofknowledge.com, they concluded, “The key to all these issues is the right of authors to achieve easily-accessible distribution of their work.”  It is important to note that although the mathematicians led the charge, they are not the only ones affected: Constraints on access occur across journals in the STM specialties, including orthopaedic surgery.

See Definitions for more on open access models and the open knowledge movement.

OrthopaedicsOne – The Publishing Alternative

Although the large traditional publishers are generally the targets for scientists’ and researchers’ ire about limiting access to research papers, not-for-profit societies that self-publish their journals can also stifle access by requiring membership or a subscription to view content. And it is not only journal content; textbooks, monographs, and multimedia content published by traditional or not-for-profit society publishers are subject to access limits as well.

OrthopaedicsOne provides an alternative to the monopoly many believe publishers and societies have on access to content. We support the open knowledge movement – free access, reuse, and redistribution of data, content, and general information.

Be part of the first knowledge-sharing economy – Contribute on OrthopaedicsOne

There is never a charge to post content on OrthopaedicsOne, nor is there a charge to access the review articles, cases, images, videos, news, meeting abstracts, and other content on the site. Certain types of content, such as videos, require membership, but membership is also free to health care professionals. Also, content is peer reviewed, through pre- and post-publication reviews.

Authors maintain copyright to the content they post on OrthopaedicsOne, and they are free to reuse it on other websites. The authoring tools on OrthopaedicsOne – combined with the site’s powerful multimedia platform – also make it easy to self-publish a textbook online within months, bypassing the lengthy processes in place at traditional publishing houses. And because it is a “living” textbook, it can be revised as needed to ensure that that the content remains current.

As scientific communication evolves, OrthopaedicsOne is already at the forefront of a new paradigm in scholarly publishing. At present, orthopaedic surgeons and other health care professionals from more than 200 countries access OrthopaedicsOne. We are charting the future of information and knowledge management in orthopaedic surgery and musculoskeletal medicine.

To learn more about opportunities to publish with OrthopaedicsOne, pleasecontact our Editorial Team

Definitions

Open access: Digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. (Peter Suber, Director, Harvard Open Access Project)

Gratis open access: Removes price barriers alone…Gratis OA is free of charge, but not free of copyright of licensing restrictions. Users must either limit themselves to fair use or seek permission to exceed it. (Peter Suber, Director, Harvard Open Access Project)

Libre open access: Removes price barriers and at least some permission barriers. Libre open access is free of charge and expressly permits uses beyond fair use (Peter Suber, Director, Harvard Open Access Project)

Green open access: Authors self-archives a version of their articles for free public use in their institutional repository, in a central repository such as PubMed Central, or on some other OA website. What is deposited is the peer-reviewed postprint – either the author’s refereed, revised final draft or the publisher’s version of record.

Gold open access: Journal provides immediate open access to all articles on the publisher’s website (for example, BioMed Central and the Public Library of Science).

Hybrid open access: Journal publishes a mix of open access and closed access articles. Open access is provided only for articles for which an open access publishing fee has been paid, either by the authors or their funding agencies or institutions.

Author-pay business model: Journal charges publication fees, paid by authors or by their funding agencies or institutions. Roughly half the gold open access journals have author fees to cover the cost of publishing (for example, fees in Public Library of Science journals vary from $1,300 to $2,850) instead of reader subscription fees.

No-fee business model: Journal funds publication from advertising revenue and/or subsidies from foundations or institutions. There are no fees to publish in the journal or to access content.

Open knowledge: Term used to denote a set of principles and methodologies related to the production and distribution of knowledge works in an open manner. Knowledge is interpreted broadly to include: data (scientific, historical, geographic, or other), content (such as music, films, or books, and general information (for example, that produced by government and other administrative bodies). Knowledge is open if “one is free to use, reuse, and redistribute it without legal, social or technological restriction.”

Resources

  1. DOAJ – Directory of Open Access Journals: http://www.doaj.org/
  2. Elsevier – My Part in Its Downfall: http://goo.gl/YQthU
  3. Elsevier boycott website: http://costofknowledge.com
  4. Memo to Publishers: Remind Us Why You Exist Again?: http://goo.gl/MImjy
  5. More Heat Than Light — The RWA Miscalculation May Have Burned More than Elsevier: http://goo.gl/NYVWB
  6. Mysteries of the Elsevier Boycott: http://goo.gl/DkRrB
  7. Open Access Overview: http://goo.gl/c3PQW
  8. Open Access, Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition: http://goo.gl/fY7Ru
  9. Open Definition: http://opendefinition.org/okd/
  10. Open Knowledge Foundation: http://okfn.org/
  11. Scientists’ Victory Over the Research Works Act Is Like the SOPA Defeat: http://goo.gl/Ku98i
  12. Why Do We Need Academic Journals in the First Place?: http://goo.gl/UvVC0