Another Elsevier Editor Resigns to Support Open Access

May 21, 2012

Inspired by the recent resignation of Winston Hide as the Associate Editor of the journal Genomics and his subsequent embrace of the Open Access movement, on Friday in a blog post on the Malaria World website, Bart Knols, Associate Editor of the Elsevier Journal Acta Tropica, announced his resignation from the editorial board of that journal.

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In his post, Dr. Knols recognized the courage and integrity of principles of Dr. Hide’s decision:

“Clearly, Dr. Hide’s moral and ethical values presided over the risks this may have for his career and future work. But then, are we seeing a leader here that stands up and says ‘Enough is enough’? Will we remember Dr. Hide ten years from now when publishers will have come to understand that the world has changed and that open access is the only way forward?”
Then extended a similar historical perspective to the evolution of the scientific publishing industry:

“The days for massive profits from scientific publishing may be counted. In the same way that Kodak saw its film industry disappear at the dawn of digital photography. In the same way that stamps started becoming rare when email surfaced…”

and then in a similar inspired moment of self-reflection, Dr. Knols take an equally courageous decision and stand up for the essential values of scientific research:
“I applaud Dr. Hide’s move, and have to then look at myself. I am an editorial board member of Acta Tropica (another Elsevier journal). Therefore I have, this morning, sent an email to the editors of the journal, to inform them that I wish to resign from the Board…”

From our corner as supporters of Open Science, we salute Dr. Knol’s determination and integrity. His gesture provides valuable momentum to the Open Access movement, and serves as a second call of awakening for academics who are still in conflict between adherence to the socially-responsible principles of scientific research and the convenience of nurturing resumes for their own careers.

Further reading of Dr. Knols’ website is quite enlightening. One of the first elements that catch the eye, and that is very relevant to his recent post is his quote:

“If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to sleep with a mosquito in the room”

Many times we have heard others raise the excuse: “Why to attempt to change the Status Quo if I’m only one person… what impact can I possibly have”. Here Dr. Knols remind us masterfully, how much each small action really matters.

For more interesting material from Dr. Knols, you may want to watch his TED Talk:

And of course, his video clip on the importance of Open Access for scientific research in the developing world:

Our admiration and respect goes to Dr. Knols, a real scientist who “talks the talk, and walks the walk!”

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