Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Open Access: a Field Guide

Many of you may have been confused by the murmuration that surrounded the release of the Finch Report in July. Fear not: as part of its public service remit Fundermentals brings you a field guide for bewildered academic twitchers.

Top of the Finch family is the Goldfinch. The Goldfinch swoops and soars on (peer-reviewed) thermals, it's golden plumage shimmering in the autumn sunshine, free for all to treasure and enjoy. But those golden feathers are expensive to maintain, and whilst bird watchers and publishers love it, academic landowners are concerned about how they can afford to allow this bird to fly free.

More dowdy than its golden cousin, the Greenfinch is more of a ground dweller. It hops around fields and hedgerows, opportunistically seeking out a place to store its cargo of nuts and berries. Unfortunately this winter harvest often goes unnoticed, as most twitchers have their binoculars focussed on the brasher, flashier Goldfinch.

As well as these two beautiful birds, the Finch family also includes the Chaffinch and Bullfinch. The debate surrounding Open Access has allowed Chaff and Bull to prosper, to such a degree that there's a danger that they might overwhelm the other species. We at Fundermental Towers keep our binoculars trained nervously on the sky.

Thanks to Simon Kerridge for highlighting this ornithological display.



    This is a very clever spoof for those orniphiles who are already in the know, but it offers no field guidance whatsoever as to what the policy actually is -- or ought to be. (It also misunderstands and hence misrepresents the Subgenus Chloris…)

    Harnad, S (2012) United Kingdom's Open Access Policy Urgently Needs a Tweak. D-Lib Magazine Volume 18, Number 9/10 September/October 2012

    1. More sensible and 'proper' OA details on the OA Forum notes, here: