I noticed a new web site some time ago: rockyourpaper.org. It is first and foremost a search engine for open access research papers. You can search for open access papers from lots of different publishers and they aim to be the place to go for open access research.
Their initial motivation is to provide easy access to research to students and researchers from countries that typically cannot afford access to the expensive subscription journals. I talked to Rock Your Paper co-founder Neeraj Mehta about their platform to find out a bit more about it.
Rock Your Paper (RYP) started on October 18th, 2013. It is not the only place to search for open access papers. Other possibilities of course include the publishers’ sites themselves, but this is hard work considering the many different publishers you would have to visit. Another centralised place to search for papers is the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) where you can search among, at the time of writing, 1,573,847 open access papers. When I spoke to Neeraj in January, RYP was hoping to index 20 million research papers by January 31st. In addition, they provide another layer of service to its users. You can create an account with RYP and save both searches and individual papers so that you can keep track of “what was it I searched for the other day when I found that paper…”
Rock Your Paper is a for-profit startup company that of course hopes to earn money from their services, but they promise that their basic search and access features will remain free for users. This seems very much in line with their initial purpose. They may extend their services along the way with additional features such as formatting, editing and translation which users will need to pay for.
Initially, they are aiming to establish themselves first and foremost as an open access search engine. Later on, they may also extend the platform to let users publish research. They have also approached publishers of subscription-based journals about the possibility of providing discounted access to these, but unfortunately they have not had any luck with this yet.
I think Rock Your Paper sounds like one of many interesting new players in the open access / open science area that will be exciting to follow.