The Open Access Interviews: F1000 Founder Vitek Tracz

Richard Poynder, Shut?, Sept 23, 2015
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Fifteen years ago Vitek Tracz launched Biomed Central and in so doing gave open access the boost it needed into the mainstream. But he sold it to Springer in 2008 and the model which seemed to hold such promise to reduce costs actually became a mechanism for publishers to increase profits from institutions and funders through steadily increasing author fees. This model - known as "gold open access" has been favoured by publishers and politicians, for obvious reasons. But in addition to predatory pricing practices, iot is a magnet for "the so-called reproducibility problem, the growth of scientific misconduct including data fabrication, photo manipulation and the peddling of fake peer reviews, along with growing concern about publication bias." For these reasons the open access movement today advocates for "green open access" in which authors or institutions host the published papers themselves, hence avoiding author fees. What does Tracz think of this? He stays out of the politics, but has created the "Faculty of 1000" services in which "leading researchers and clinicians share their expert opinions by highlighting and evaluating the most important articles in biology and medicine." It's a kind of post-publication review (but obviously with a built-in conservative bias).

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