Nigersaurus, the OA dino

An OA article, Structural Extremes in a Cretaceous Dinosaur by Sereno PC, Wilson JA, Witmer LM, Whitlock JA, Maga A, et al., in PLoS ONE 2007(21 Nov); 2(11): e1230, has generated, as of today, only two Annotations and Discussions, but quite a lot of blogging activity. Coturnix (Bora Zivkovic), in his role as Online Community Manager at PLoS-ONE, has been tracking the other blog and media coverage at Extreme Dinosaur: Nigersaurus, the Mesozoic Cow!, A Blog Around The Clock, November 15, 2007. An example: The Nigersaurus has landed, Chris Surridge, PLoS Blog, November 15, 2007. Excerpt:

Strictly speaking the publication date on this paper is November the 21st but we are using what is known as Early Online Release (EOR, pronounced ‘eeyore’ like the depressive donkey in Winnie-the-Pooh) to set it live today, 10:30 Eastern Standard time.

Why have we done this?

Simple. At 10:30 EST the fossil skull is being unveiled as the centrepiece of an exhibition at National Geographic Gallery in Washington DC.

See also: Extreme Dinosaur – Nigersaurus: Africa’s Long-Necked Fern Mower, National Geographic Museum, November 15, 2007.

Chris Surridge also points out that: “This is superb example of the power of Open Access publishing“. This same point is made by Peter McGrath in Open access science publishing lands a big one, The Beagle Project Blog, 16 November 2007.

It’s also a superb example of the power of blogs to attract attention to interesting articles. From the perspective of the OA movement, Peter Suber’s Open Access News continues to provide another superb example of this latter power. And, the interesting articles don’t need to be in OA journals. They can be in OA repositories, or even in other blogs. They simply need to be OA. An example (while on the subject of dinosaurs): Another blog comment on the Royal Society statement, by Peter Suber (Open Access News, November 27, 2005) about a blog post, Royal Society Stands Against Open Access, by Matt Barton, KairosNews, November 26, 2005. Excerpt from the latter:

It’s really sad for me to see the Royal Society lumbering on like all the other dinosaurs. After all, the historically revolutionized scientific discourse by offering the first real scientific journal, Philosophical Transactions, and made every effort to get that journal into the hands of scientists everywhere–even “foreign” ones. Of course, back then they were progressive and fighting against so many repressive nationalist forces, from home and abroad. They were also converting science from one of secrecy to one of full disclosure (making a gamble that scientists would trade their knowledge for good publicity and notoriety). However, I guess we should note that the first editor of PT, Henry Oldenburg, made his living editing, printing, and selling the journal–so I suppose there has always been this profit motive burning deep in the bowels of the RS.

Royal Society Publishing now provides a hybrid open access option, EXiS Open Choice. However, the fee is high and will not be waived for those who cannot pay. For more details, see: The Royal Society adopts the OA hybrid model for all seven of its journals, Open Access News, June 21, 2006, and More on the Royal Society hybrid OA journals, Open Access News, June 24, 2006.

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