Earlier today I got some news that I had not been rejected from the glammiest of glamour. However, the editor did request that I make some big changes to the manuscript and I, in typical Isis fashion, had a little pout fest and healthy bout of “I don’t know what to do…..(whine).”
As soon as I hardened the fuck up, I called a mentor and very senior person in my field and asked him whether it would be better for me to submit the paper as I had written it to a field specific journal or comply with the editor’s request and go glam. In no uncertain and pragmatic terms, he told me to go with the latter telling me, “Something like this puts your career on an entirely different level.”
I took my question to the Twitterz and PLoS founder Michael Eisen asked me:
Nope. Not Open Access at all. Glammy. Michael very quickly called me a #hypocrite and the storm erupted.
I tried to make this point there, but I think it has been lost. Folks like Michael Eisen and Ethan Perstein (who quickly joined the conversation) have framed Open Access as a moral issue. They have that luxury. I don’t.
When I look in my immediate academic circle, it’s white dudes to the left of me and white dudes to the right of me. There is no one else here that I interact with that is like me. No one else who was raised in East LA in a Spanish speaking home, raised largely by her South American grandparents. Larger than the Open Access warz, I feel that I have a moral responsibility to increase the access to science careers for women and minorities. I can’t hold the door open for those folks unless I am standing on the other side of it. That means getting tenure and if someone tells me that I can get closer to those goals by forgoing Open Access for a round or two, I’m going to do it. As I tried to say on Twitter in the midst of the storm, non-white men have to play even harder by the rules. It’s cute to consider being a rebel, but not at the expense of my other goals. To paint Open Access as the greatest moral imperative facing science today condescendingly dismisses the experiences many of the rest of us are having.