We didn’t quite make it in time for OA week, but I hope we’ll be forgiven, because we have an AWESOME feature that we just quietly launched. It’s now possible to filter the 27 million canonical documents in the Mendeley research catalog for articles published in Open Access journals.
Why is this important?
If you do research, you’re probably familiar with the situation: you read your colleague’s papers & do research, then publish your work in the hopes that your colleagues will read it and you can continue to get funded to do more research. At each step of the way, you pay. Even if the direct cost to you is hidden by your institution, you pay for research materials, pay to publish, then pay again via your library’s subscriptions to read what you and your colleagues paid to publish. It’s an odd system, not entirely unlike how soap is made in the movie Fight Club. If you’re one of the researchers in the developing countries or at smaller research institutions in the first-world, you don’t need us to tell you how this is holding back progress and development of life-saving technologies, but even researchers at elite institutions can understand that it’s depriving them of readership. (Mendeley Group)
How does this affect your career?
Thankfully, there’s another way to publish which avoids these problems and turns research papers and data into the kind of social objects we’re accustomed to finding on the web. Open Access publishing is a publishing mechanism where the author, or the author’s institution, pays the publication costs up-front, freeing the publisher from the need to restrict access on the back end. When you consider that up-front fees are often comparable to the page charges at journals that don’t offer open access to your research (and most OA publishers have no fees at all), it’s a bit hard to understand why funding agencies continue to put up with it. More and more, they’re not, as governments turn to public access mandates(US, UK) to get the most out of stretched research budgets and increase public awareness of science.
You can now take advantage of this increased access by searching Mendeley’s catalog of the world’s research for papers published in Open Access journals. When you find a paper this way, you know you will be able to read the full text of the paper, no matter where you are or how big a budget your institution has for journal subscriptions. Just click the OA checkbox in the advanced search options or try a sample search.
Other notable features in this Wednesday’s web release are:
- Use Facebook Connect to login and share papers
- Custom http://mnd.ly shortlinks for blogging or tweeting papers using the Share This widget on article pages
- More information added to RSS feed and API