Scientific Data Science and the Case for Open Access

"Open access" has become a central theme of journal reform inacademic publishing. In this article, Iexamine the consequences of an important technological loophole in which publishers can claim to be adhering to the principles of open access by releasing articles in proprietary or “locked” formats that cannot be processed by automated tools, whereby even simple copy and pasting of text is disabled. These restrictions will prevent the development of an important infrastructural element of a modern research enterprise, namely,scientific data science, or the use of data analytic techniques to conduct meta-analyses and investigations into the scientific corpus. I give a brief history of the open access movement, discuss novel journalistic practices, and an overview of data-driven investigation of the scientific corpus. I arguethat particularly in an era where the veracity of many research studies has been called into question, scientific data science should be oneof the key motivations for open access publishing. The enormous benefits of unrestricted access to the research literature should prompt scholars from all disciplines to reject publishing models whereby articles are released in proprietary formats or are otherwise restricted from being processed by automated tools as part of a data science pipeline.