Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Amy Harmon, New York Times, on Open Access publishing

Amy Harmon, who writes for the New York Times and has written some excellent recent pieces on evolution and genomics is answering some questions on the New York Times website

And one of them was about communicating science and Amy responded (with other comments):
Of course, the one way scientists do, theoretically, communicate with the public is by publishing their results. Since these papers are written for other scientists, they can be hard to understand. But even for people game to wade through them, they are often hard to obtain. The two leading scientific journals, Science and Nature, and many others, require people to pay for access to papers whose authors have been financed by taxpayers. “Open access” publishers like the Public Library of Science do not, so it would be nice to see scientists choosing — or being required — to publish in journals that are open to the public.
Nothing more for me to add.


  1. We also need more partnerships between scientific publishers and mainstream journalists (like Amy). Because no matter how adept the leading scientific journals are at science writing, the mainstream public will not pay attention unless it is picked up widely in the mainstream press.

    How about a partnership between PLoS and Oprah where Oprah announces her top science picks each month?

  2. PloS and Oprah would be brilliant. Not sure how to arrange that, but if you have any ideas ...

  3. Any comment on Obama's announcement that Harold Varmus is one of his scientific advisors?

  4. Sounds good to me - Varmus is a great scientists, leader, and OA supporter.

  5. ScienceDebate2008 wont have much to do in 2 months. I would like to round up some editors of fancy science publications (PLoS Biology for example) who are interested in the idea of recruiting someone like Oprah to talk about the latest and greatest scientific discoveries. We can then write a joint letter to the ScienceDebate2008 group, to ask if we can tap into their excellent network and publicity. With you and and ScienceDebate2008 behind the idea, how could Oprah turn us down?

    Maxine Clark over at Nature Network blogs said she would help.