“I like to think of the period that we’ve entered into now as “The Great Acceleration,” a term coined by author Warren Ellis (or, as a recent exhibition states it, “Everything Happens So Much“). We aren’t really dealing with new issues – arXiv has been around posting preprints since 1991, mergers have been common for a while now (Wiley buying Blackwell happened more than 11 years ago), and the open access movement has been front and center since at least the year 2000….
But, like every other aspect of our lives in this interconnected, digital utopia in which we live, we’ve reached a point where everything feels like it’s happening at once. Every week it seems like another piece of crucial publishing infrastructure is changing hands, or a new open access policy is announced, or there’s a new open letter petitioning for change that you’re expected to sign onto, or a new technology or standard that you absolutely must implement….
Plan S is a great example of acceleration — the research world has been moving slowly toward open access, with different fields moving at different paces via different routes. This evolution has taken place at, not surprisingly, an evolutionary pace, and a small group of significant research funders have declared their impatience with this level of progress. Plan S is a deliberate attempt to accelerate change, throwing a comet into a complex ecosystem in hope that it will produce mammals, rather than mass extinction….
That brings us back to the notion of much-needed infrastructure. If the open source community really wants to make a difference, then the some focus should be directed toward back-end, e-commerce billing systems. The regulatory conditions of the market have reached a point where it is incredibly inefficient for them to be tracked and applied by hand. We need systems that can take advantage of persistent identifiers (ORCID, the CrossRef Funder Registry, the developing ORG-ID) and automate the process of ensuring that each author on a paper has met their requirements. A modular system where each funder, government, and institution can plug in their rules and have those applied to the publication process would enable much more rapid progress than reinventing the article submission system or building yet another publishing platform….”