Scientists for Open Access


If 200 scientists agree to help the campaign for Open Access in the sciences, then we'll all do it. All participants will spread the word about the campaign, and promise to contribute to one of the 3 steps needed for a campaign: planning, outreach, or contributing funds.

  • 2 months

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  • 200


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Project Starter

Brian Russell Krueger

Short description:

Despite the ease of sharing in the digital age, a collective action problem plagues the sciences, preventing journal articles from being in the hands of taxpayers who have in large part financed the research. Under the competitive pressure of publish or perish, researchers are unwilling to forego the prestige that publishing in established journals can bring to their careers.

Thousands of scientists have recognize that this is wrong, and have refused to participate in closed access journals. Unfortunately, many authors may be unwilling to make this sacrifice, as nothing prevents another researcher from sidestepping questions of right and wrong, and publishing in those same journals. Given this situation, they prefer to get the prestige before another does so.

Start date:

02 Oct 2018

End date:

03 Feb 2019

Goal / impact

We are asking 200 scientists to commit to one or more of the following: planning, outreach, or funding of the crowdacting campaigns for OA in specific disciplines. 200 scientists should be a large enough number to ensure the establishment of several working groups.

Of the 200 scientists, one or more working groups will form. For example: a group of sociologists works together to create a campaign for their discipline. 5 are willing to do planning and research, another 7 are willing to do outreach and activism, and 10 are willing to contribute financially to cover costs. Researchers investigate the best number of sociologists to ask to participate. They find roughly 1800 sociologists publishing in the field, and it is decided that if 1100 sociologists agree to only publish OA, then the field will ‘tip’. The fundraisers contributed to a video and campaign materials. The Activists get 1100 signatures. A year later the agreement goes into effect. A majority of sociologists agree to only publish OA.

If 200 scientists agree to help the campaign for Open Access in the sciences, then we'll all do it. All participants will spread the word about the campaign, and promise to contribute to one of the 3 steps needed for a campaign: planning, outreach, or contributing funds.

Other comments

In signing this agreement, you are committing to tell colleagues about the crowdacting in your own discipline when it is ready: You should also be willing to contribute to planning, outreach or funding:

Planning: The workload might consist of answering the following questions:

  • How many scientists authors are there publishing in (sociology) journals? From Ulrichs or other sources.
  • What is the critical mass of scientist authors necessary to tip the entire discipline into publishing in OA journals and repositories? If 20% produce 80% of the articles, how can we ensure that we reach this 20%?
  • Does the necessary infrastructure (OA journals) exist that all of literature in the field could be published OA? If not, what is needed?
  • Should the agreement be for green OA or gold OA? Do (sociologist) scientists prefer or support one or the other?
  • The process of publication is slow: What time frame should the campaign respect for adoption? Is one year from the date of informing the success of the crowdaction enough time?

Develop a strategy once the given questions are answered.

Outreach: The workload might consist of the following:

  • Create a communications strategy
  • Create a crowdacting campaign based on the above research.
  • Create flyers, pamphlets, graphics for the campaign
  • Write op-eds, blog entries, news articles, interviews.
  • Contribute to social network activity which reaches out to both scientists and the general public to get them to talk to (sociologist) friends. Facebook, Instagram, twitter...
  • Maintain a database of influential contacts for direct outreach to specific influential authors and scientists.

Funding: Some will prefer to contribute economically:

Initial funding will be used to create a generic video to accompany the crowdacts. This should be both for the general public and scientists, and should be easily modifiable to suit any given discipline. After that, funding can be used for publishing flyers for use at conventions, books, helping to set up open access journals, etc. We will inform you of payment options when the campaign is successful.

The eventual agreement of a crowdacting for sociologists might look something like this:

If 1100 sociologists agree to begin publishing all of their scientific investigation in either OA journals or in OA repositories,then we'll all do it. Participants must be authors of scientific papers in the field of sociology, and must agree to do so within 1 year of the date of the 1100th signature.

If the campaign is won, a list of acceptable OA publications and repositories should be distributed to the participants.

That’s it! Of course, a victory in one discipline should also be followed by an announcement of the victory and an invitation for the rest of the disciplines to follow suit. We should also evaluate if the campaign met the goals - ie: if the estimation of the number of scientist needed to succeed was accurate to tipping the bulk of scientist authors into publishing OA.