Michael Ashburner on Open Access

The new issue of Current Biology contains an interview with Drosophila geneticist Michael Ashburner. Here’s a quote from the article:

Scientists should realize that if they submit to journals — like those published by Elsevier, Springer, Kluwer, Wiley and the like — then their work will be less accessible and not as widely read as it would be if it was published in an Open Access journal.

Current Biology is published by Elsevier (who are also involved in the arms trade), which means that Ashburner is pushing for Open Access publishing in a non-Open Access journal. Good stuff.

Ashburner’s advocacy of Open Access publishing should come as no surprise, as he is a vocal proponent of open access to genomic data. He also walks the walk — he will only publish in journals that are Open Access. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I’m glad I’ve got Ashburner on my team.


  1. #1 Jonathan Badger
    November 22, 2006

    Heh — pretty amusing that they’d let Michael say that there. I’m a big supporter of open access myself — I get really angry when I try to access a paper in a journal my institute doesn’t subscribe to and get a big “purchase this article for $49.95” dialog box. And who does this money go to? To the authors of the article? No. How about to the peer reviewers? Again, no. It goes to the *publisher*. For doing…exactly what? Typesetting?

  2. #2 PhysioProf
    November 22, 2006

    Ashburner is a very funny dude, and seems to be quite the “merry prankster”. For example, in his interview he says the following:

    “An interest in natural history was encouraged by my father, who would give me a penny for every different species of wild flower that I could identify. I collected flowers, butterflies, beetles, fossils, birds eggs, hedgehogs… you name it. But this interest lapsed in my early teens, which were dominated by competitive dinghy sailing.”

    Did he really collect hedgehogs? Did he really engage in competitive dinghy sailing?

  3. #3 RPM
    November 22, 2006

    I engaged in competitive dinghy sailing, so that quote didn’t come off as weird to me. Of course, collecting hedgehogs seems odd.

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