Friday, March 7, 2014

Open access and proposal review: two data points

One worry often expressed on-line with regard to publishing in open access journals is how it will impact ones chances of getting funded.  Here are two data points in that regard.

I just got two reviews back on a proposal I submitted to the Danish National Research Foundation, entitled "Quantum Biochemistry: New methods for computer aided design of new enzymes and drugs". The reviews are non-anonymous: one reviewer is from the US and the other from Finland and neither was suggested by me or appear as an author in the papers I reference.

Here's the relevant section of the proposal (note to self: include eLife next time)
Publication and Dissemination 
All theoretical developments and applications will be published in peer-reviewed journals. As far possible we will publish in open access journals or journals with an open access option, to allow access to as many people as possible. However, any successful application to enzyme or drug design will be submitted to Nature or Science. All new theoretical methods will be incorporated into the GAMESS program, which is distributed free of charge to both academia and industry, and is the most popular non-commercial quantum chemistry program in the world. 
Also, during the last two years I have published mostly in PLoS ONE and PeerJ, including all the results pertaining to this proposal.

Here's what the review form asks the reviewers to comment on with respect to this point:
Please write your comments on the overall considerations in the proposal with regard to the publication/dissemination/patenting of research results, briefly explaining both the strengths and weaknesses.  
Here's what the reviewers wrote.

Reviewer 1
I’m glad that the researchers demonstrate a commitment to publishing their work and in open access journals and their software freely. I was somewhat disheartened to see the suggestion that the work will be submitted to Nature and Science only if the work is extremely successful (see Randy Sheckman’s thoughts on this, insightful even though they are not that they are all valid from my perspective).
Reviewer 2
I personally very much favour the open-access model, which is nicely taken shown in this application. Especially, since the created computational method will be freely available I am really happy with this part. 
I don't know yet if the proposal will be funded, but if it isn't it won't because of the reviewers views on open access.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0
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