Today I’m posting a piece I wrote for the latest NZ Entomological Society Newsletter on my collaboration with Science Learning Hub.
Update: This post is published on SciBlogs.co.nz here.
Studies on insect declines published over the last few years have thrown up some scary headlines. “The insect apocalypse is here” proclaims the New York Times, warning the pace of insect declines could spell catastrophe within decades.
It’s a grim picture, but how accurate is it?
At it’s most simple, ‘open access’ is the idea that anyone should be able to read and reuse scholarly works free of charge.
The open access debate is sometimes framed as an all-or-nothing, take it or leave it kind of deal. But those in favour of OA are not necessarily in favour of forking out huge APC’s to OA or Hybrid publishers. Likewise, those with concerns about OA are not necessarily happy with big publishers making massive profit margins by paywalling taxpayer-funded research.
But rather than arguing for one business model or another (a task I’m vastly under-qualified to do), I simply want to remind researchers that in the mean time, we can make all of our work openly accessible entirely for free (for both authors and readers), with minimal effort, all while publishing in whatever journal we want.
Students and early career researchers have a lot on their plates: we are expected to write papers, attend conferences, do field work or lab work, manage our project, manage our supervisor, manage our time, manage our sanity…all while being constantly reminded of our limited chances of landing our dream job when we finally leave student life behind.
In order to counter some of the cynicism, I’m a big believer in the value of crafting an ‘online presence’ for while we study, in order to create as many opportunities as possible. When I say ‘online presence’ I mean using a combination of a personal website, social media, and academic profiles. Whether you’re a high school student, an undergraduate student, postgraduate student, early career researcher, lab head, etc, we can all can get so much out of a web presence.
This post is a quick one-stop shop for setting up a simple personal website you can use to list your interests, show off your achievements, and maybe even start a blog.
To wrap up this series I spoke to Dr Jon Tennant. Jon is a palaeontologist, independent researcher, and passionate advocate for open scholarship. Jon completed his PhD thesis in January 2017 at Imperial College London (and made it available under a CC-BY license on figshare). Jon has contributed research on peer review and open access; founded a palaeontology pre-print server; founded a MOOC on open science; communicated huge amounts of science as a freelance writer; and much more.
“What? Native wasps?” I hear you say. Yes, thousands of them! And they don’t sting!
I was interviewed on Radio New Zealand’s ‘Our Changing World Programme’ by Alison Ballance. We chatted about our misunderstood parasitoid wasps, my masters research, and the value of taxonomy. You can check out the interview here. Happy listening!