In Episode #17, I spoke to Dr. Michael Eisen, a biologist at UC-Berkeley and editor-in-chief for eLife, a non-profit open access science journal. Throughout his career, Dr. Eisen has been an advocate of open science, the free release of the results of scientific research, and has been critical of traditional forms of scientific publishing, which often place scientific results behind a paywall.
We discussed a variety of topics related to how academic science is conducted, including how it gets funded and what is involved in running a research lab. Much of the discussion centers on the business of scientific publishing, including what scientific journals are and their history, as well as the business models of for-profit journals and how they work.
We also talked about open access journals and new ways that people are using technology to get around paywalls. Scientific publishing is an industry that most people have little awareness of (including many scientists), and the size and profitability of large scientific publishing groups may surprise you.