[Open Access Week 2022 special] Open access content removes barriers and encourages equity: Interview with Natalia Reinic Babic, IntechOpen

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[Open Access Week 2022 special] Open access content removes barriers and encourages equity: Interview with Natalia Reinic Babic, IntechOpen

As part of our International Open Access Week 2022 celebrations, we want to bring you varied perspectives from researchers, publishers, and other stakeholders in academic publishing. We are in conversation with Natalia Reinic Babic, Head of Journal Publishing and Open Science, IntechOpen. In this interview, Natalia shares her perspectives on open access and open science. 

Would you like to introduce yourself and talk about your role at IntechOpen?  

I am the Head of Journal Publishing and Open Science at IntechOpen, which is the leading global publisher of open access books and recently launched a series of journals embracing open science alongside their academic communities.

I've been with the company since 2010, witnessing many milestones. As a Managing Editor, I was in charge of the expansion and development of IntechOpen's flagship journal - the International Journal of Advanced Robotic Systems - and the rest of the journal portfolio as the Head of the Journal Department. During this time, I started various initiatives and projects that helped strengthen the journal brand and facilitated growth, including InTeract 2012 - Robotics PopSci event, IJARS Highlights - journal's yearly magazine, and IJARS Video Series - open access video platform.

My recent experience working at IntechOpen's London HQ on strategic projects focused on network expansion which has strengthened my love for the scientific community, open access, and open science and led me to where I am today - building a new interdisciplinary open science journal portfolio with an amazing team.

As one of the pioneers in publishing open access scholarly books, what are your thoughts on open access and open science? 

By its very nature, open access democratizes knowledge. It opens up research that becomes available to all, whatever the background or geography, which can contribute to discoveries and sustainability as well as the development of research. Open access content can be created by anyone, from anywhere, any knowledge system, region, or experience, and it removes barriers and encourages equity.

I believe that the principles of open science increase collaboration, encourage the sharing of data and code, and with the growth of preprints, the time taken for research to be shared is reduced. Because our journals only launched earlier this year, we cannot speak to longer-term trends, but we believe that with our journals, we are making a step towards OS, primarily in the spirit of a collaborative approach, which enables the rapid development of science. After all, contemporary research requires making all the outputs of scholarly activity available for others to read and build upon.

Since we’re discussing climate justice this year, in that context I feel there is still a lot of room for progress. The pace of climate change and, of course, the impact it is having and will continue to have on our lives requires that all parties work quickly and collaboratively across disciplines and sectors to address the emergency we face.

You mentioned that IntechOpen has launched a portfolio of open science journals covering interdisciplinary research recently. Could you tell us more about this initiative?

IntechOpen's story starts in 2004, by two scientists at the University of Vienna who had difficulty accessing relevant research and papers due to paywalls. To address the challenges of access to content, they decided to launch a non-subscription robotics journal, as this was their area of research.

Making scientific research accessible to everyone in an intuitive and innovative way was the paradigm that has always guided IntechOpen, leading us to where we are today - from journals, we expanded into open access books (We have recently published our 6,000th book!) and launched a new series of open science journals to extend our open values.

We started our open access journey of discovery by publishing a robotics journal, and there's a neat symmetry in the fact that when we decided to start publishing open science journals, one of them was covering robotics too.

We sold our original group of journals in 2016 and focused on books, but as time has gone by and the open movement has gained pace, growing towards open science, we realised we wanted to move in this direction too. Through open science, we aim to contribute to a more collaborative and, above all, transparent scientific environment. IntechOpen is a member of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Publishers Compact, and all three journals advocate UN SDGs.

With these journals, we are supporting a global academic community, particularly in the rapidly growing areas that lie at the core of IntechOpen's expertise.

Our newly launched journal AI, Computer Science and Robotics Technology publishes works intersecting engineering, computer science, and robotics with a strong focus on research that impacts the advancement of humankind. The journal is led by Editor-in-Chief Dr. Timothy Sands, Cornell University, USA.

Digital Medicine and Healthcare Technology focuses on topics at the intersection of biological and physical sciences in the rapidly advancing field of digital health with a strong emphasis on technology developments that impact healthcare. The papers published have a strong technological component too. The journal is developing under the editorial leadership of Prof. Pier Paolo Piccaluga from the University of Bologna, Italy.

In the words of our Editor in Chief - Prof. Dr. Eduardo Jacob-Lopes (The Federal University of Santa Maria in Brazil), the journal Green Energy and Environmental Technology has stemmed from IntechOpen's recognition to raise awareness and enable scientists to share their latest research in renewable energy and environmental technology. The papers published in this journal aim to support United Nations SDGs, are rooted in technology, and cover topics directly impacting climate change (Renewable Energies, Environmental Engineering, Clean Technologies, Green and Sustainable Chemistry, Sustainable Energy Generation, Storage, and Distribution).

All three journals are technology focused, interdisciplinary, publish under an open access model and embrace open science policies.


Thank you for talking to us, Natalia!


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Published on: Oct 28, 2022


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