Open Access: the Author and Editor Perspective

2nd October 2018

Good academic books connect research from many different fields, with the results bigger than the sum of their parts. That was the conclusion of a wide-ranging discussion with two academics who are exploring life in extreme environments at our celebration of editors and authors during Peer Review Week 2018.

Last month at an event in London, we were joined by two academics who have recently published with IntechOpen. As well as celebrating peer review, we asked them about their experiences of publishing these works, and their thoughts on open access.  

Thais Russomano, senior lecturer at King’s College London and founder of the Microgravity Centre in Brazil, also runs her own company, InnovaSpace which aims to bring space closer to society. She believes in communicating research to broad audiences and is leading a scheme to encourage young women into science.

We asked her, with all of her other commitments, what made her want to edit Into Space: A journey of How Humans Adapt and Live in Microgravity?

“I wrote my first book aged ten, I write regularly for a newspaper back in Brazil -never missing a deadline! I love writing myself and also the idea that a book can be so interdisciplinary. With books you can create a narrative and rhythm and your authors are free to explore their ideas in a creative way. As an editor, I tried to ensure we had a range of voices and topics, but also that the chapters would flow.”

David Barnes, a marine ecologist with British Antarctic Survey, often finds himself on remote research vessels, without the usual communication channels. He sees the appeal of reaching a broader audience than his research otherwise may: “For me, writing a chapter in a book about Carbon Capture Utilization and Sequestration means I can reach beyond the marine biology community, to researchers in adjoining fields and to industry, who discover my work when reading another chapter in the same volume.”

Barnes also explained how a big part of his desire to publish his chapter, about blue carbon on polar and subpolar seabeds, was that it would be part of an open access book. “To publish open access was crucial. Research needs to be read broadly and not just by the wealthy. This access builds connections that may not otherwise be made, and new avenues for collaboration.”

And Thais Russomano agreed. Although space research is shifting largely across to be done in the private sector, “it is our history in the universe and I believe space should be without borders.” she said.