It’s Open Access Week this week, celebrating the free, immediate, online access to the results of scholarly research, and the right to use and re-use those results as you need.
We’re big fans of the concept. Our parent charity is a big advocate, our website is built on open source software, and of course all Mosaic's content is available free under a Creative Commons licence.
As we’ve said before, one of our goals for Mosaic is to make these stories available to as wide an audience as possible: anyone, anywhere no matter how or where they care to enjoy them. Our Creative Commons license is part of this. We didn’t know if it would work, but so far it has.
Our stories (and their Extras) have been republished by over 30 different publications so far, from BBC Future, CNN, The Guardian, Pacific Standard, The Atlantic and New Statesman, to Gizmodo, Ars Technica, Jezebel, Mama Mia, New Republic, The Oslo Times, Australian Doctor, Scroll and The Hindu. (You can see a full range on our Pinterest boards)
We’ve seen the vast majority of republishing done online, but some stories have been reproduced in print, including The Week, The Observer Magazine, Readers Digest and four in the Independent and Independent on Sunday magazine.
We’ve also had some of our stories translated – into Spanish, French, Polish and Hungarian.
It’s not just our text features. We host our films on YouTube to make sharing and embedding easy, and these have been taken up by The Guardian and Gizmodo among others. Our films also aired on UK television thanks to the Community Channel.
Often, the places that republish our work have completely separate audiences, perhaps explaining why publishers aren’t squeamish about content that may have appeared elsewhere. Our conversations with publishers and authors indicate that the content has been highly successful for them, bringing in plenty of traffic and greater exposure to the writer's work. We estimate that our stories have reached at least three times as many people compared to keeping them just for own site, and as we’ve noted before the level of engagement and quality of comments is higher this way.
We’d like to think it's also because of the quality of the stories themselves, which fits with one of our other aims for Mosaic: to provide high-quality, in-depth, well-reported and thoroughly fact-checked science articles that many media organisations haven’t the resources to produce themselves today. If we can help with this, then we all win: as writers, editors, publishers and, above all, readers.