Exploring open access publishing in Asia with Samuel Gan from Scientific Phone Apps and Mobile Devices

How has open access influenced academic publishing in Asia? In this month’s interview section, we ask Samuel Ken-En Gan, one of the Editors-in-Chief of Scientific Phone Apps and Mobile Devices to share his views on this topic. Dr. Gan also gives us his perspective on the outlook of research in the journal’s field.

Why did you consider open access for your journal?

There are a couple of reasons.

  1. Accessibility by readers.
  2. Knowledge dissemination
  3. Open access mandate by the organizations.

The journal articles would be very interdisciplinary, making it suitable for a much wider audience. With application notes which is to showcase the use and potential of an app/device, even the reader with little technical background would be able to appreciate the uses of the apps/devices.

What makes it more exciting is that even commercial apps can be featured in the application notes. This makes this journal one of the few that crosses the gap between academia and industry. The developer need not give away the source codes or know how, but simply focus on the functionality of the apps/devices in application notes. With the peer review process of the application notes, it gives credibility to the app/device as well as a source of validation.

It certainly is useful to have it as open access for the general public as well.

How did open access help you to promote the journal?

Open access makes it easier to advertise and point people to the article directly. The accessibility definitely helps the reach of the journal and the contents to even the general public.

How do you think open access has impacted academic publishing across Asia?

It had made Asian research more accessible worldwide and boosted Asian science and scientists. I would believe it contributed to the shift of scientific power from the west to the east. In general, the research funding cuts are less pronounced in Asia when compared to the western world.

What are the challenges faced in publishing open access in this region? Are they any difficulties faced in working with the editorial board members/society/peers?

I would guess there could still be some bias where people hope to see some big names with top university affiliations which are generally located in the west.

In general Asia has a larger population of people and there are increasingly more scientists being developed. Scientific Phone Apps and Mobile Devices has a great home as Singapore is interested in becoming a “Smart Nation.”

Generally there aren’t that many difficulties, but the challenge is always on the availability of finding reviewers for submissions which gets increasingly challenging. However, this problem is likely to be widespread rather than just in Asia.

What do you see as opportunities for growth in Asia?

Also, as my lab is one of the few pioneering labs to make scientific phone apps, it is a great home here. Given that Singapore is interested in interdisciplinary research, the nature of the journal is just right to tap on the opportunities. And with a reputable publisher like SpringerOpen, it is certainly a benefit.

Read a previous feature from the journal on the SpringerOpen blog.

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