Skip to content

When you choose to publish with PLOS, your research makes an impact. Make your work accessible to all, without restrictions, and accelerate scientific discovery with options like preprints and published peer review that make your work more Open.

PLOS BLOGS Absolutely Maybe

Moving On, Open Access and Science Communication Impact

Cartoon joking about journal with small readershipSometimes, all the implications of a new commitment can become clear in a single, blinding flash. But other times, realization creeps up slowly at first, then gathers momentum. A commitment to open access science has been like that for me.

First there was the decision to not submit any of my own articles to journals that weren’t full open access. Then came the decision not to peer review for closed access journals any more.

Then the really hard step: not to participate as a co-author on any article going to a non-open access journal.

Sounds like someone trying to wean themselves off an addiction, doesn’t it? It’s hard to resist, when there’s so much pressure associated with a particular type of prestige. The same kind of dynamic occurs with other science communication, too. It doesn’t serve science or science communication well, though.

Still, it’s relatively easy to be an open access advocate, when you’re a senior scientist who long ago opted for the public science agency road. There was one last tie to that world, though, and it’s been increasingly uncomfortable: blogging for a part of the Nature Publishing Group. It’s been a privilege to be part of a magazine with such a long history – including in my own life. The issues I looked at as a pre-teen count as my first science-ish reading.

But spending a few days recently watching early career researchers I admire greatly embark on academic careers with those same pledges made my rationalizations about where I blog start to sound very hollow to me. So I’m very glad to be moving on.

Cartoon Teenage Mutant Ninja Journal (PLOS)I’m excited to say that I now come with 100% more commitment to PLOS! Absolutely Maybe is moving to the terrific PLOS Blogs Network. I’m very proud to join their wonderful team. And I’m thoroughly delighted, too, to join another wonderful team: MedPage Today. I expect to learn a lot there, and the opportunity to connect with a major clinician readership is another great privilege.

People spent a lot of time here on my posts – over a full year’s worth of minutes! – and I’m grateful to all of you for the attention to what I had to say. I hope to see you in my new digs. All these posts will be coming over – with Creative Commons licensing. You can keep up with developments via Twitter or here at Statistically Funny.

A big thanks, too, to Michelle Munyikwa, who took over Absolutely Maybe for a month earlier this year. Getting to work with her was one of the highlights of my time at Scientific American.


Cartoon of scientists at a control panel setting the default to openMore about open access in this theme index of Absolutely Maybes.

The cartoons in this post are my own, as is the photo of peonies in a vase in my home (Creative Commons License): more at Statistically Funny.

Although events led to a parting of the ways, I’d like to express my gratitude to Bora Zivkovic for bringing me into the Scientific American Blog Network and providing great support, and to Catherine Zivkovic for her encouragement – and especially help with brainstorming the name of this blog.

* The thoughts Hilda Bastian expresses here at Absolutely Maybe are personal, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Institutes of Health or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Add your ORCID here. (e.g. 0000-0002-7299-680X)

Back to top