Randy Sheckman’s recent decision to boycott the so called glam-mag Cell Nature & Science (CNS) made me realize that I never expressed on this blog my view on the problems with scientific publishing. Here it comes.
- And here is Jennifer Howard's take on it for the Chronicle of Higher Education. She even has a statement from Elesevier:
Tom Reller, Elsevier’s vice president for global corporate relations, said via email that the publisher “does issue takedown notices from time to time when the final version of the published journal articles has been, often inadvertently, posted. However, there are many other good options for authors who want to share their article. We aim to ensure that the final published version of an article is readily discoverable and citable via the journal itself in order to maximize the usage metrics and credit for our authors, and to protect the quality and integrity of the scientific record. The formal publications on our platforms also give researchers better tools and links, for example to data.”All in all there are four observations that can be drawn from this:
- It had to happen sometime: publishers don't let you sign copyright agreements for nothing. Platforms like Academia.edu or ResearchGate pose a real threats to their "business models". And once it is accepted policy that every researcher posts her materials on such a platform no one would see a reason to buy a paper anymore. That would be great in a sense of access, but then again access really isn't the publishers' main concern.
- They sell you open access: If all articles would be available online people would stop to pay publishers for there ridiculously overpriced open access options.
- This will very likely continue: As said before there are a few platforms out there making research articles available to the community. My personal guess is that we will hear from ResearchGate next.
- You live freely if you haven't a reputation to lose: Elsevier really has nothing to lose. They already established themselves as the researchers' ultimate antagonist. Meanwhile, in many fields they still own leading journals that researchers simply won't stop publishing in. So in this position what would they gain from playing nice?
Here are some in depth answers from two people working on open access: Peter Suber, Director of the Harvard Office for Scholarly Communication and the Harvard Open Access Project, and Elizabeth Silva, associate editor at the Public Library of Science (PLOS).
Open Science Collaboration Blog.
The Kraus Project", the newest book by Jonathan Franzen. In it Franzen translates a couple of texts written by Viennese satirist Karl Kraus roughly 100 years ago in "Die Fackel". The translations are explained with a multitude of explanatory and autobiographical footnotes put together by Franzen, Paul Reitter and Daniel Kehlmann. Kraus in general was sceptic of technological change and Franzen describes him as
"Kraus was the first great instance of a writer fully experiencing how modernity, whose essence is the accelerating rate of change, in itself creates the conditions for personal apocalypse."And somewhere on page 273 of the book a passage in the footnotes struck me as a noteworthy counterargument to the current altmetrics craze:
The work of yakkers and tweeters and braggers, and of people with the money to pay somebody to churn out hundreds of five-star reviews for them, will flourish in that world. (Kraus's dictate "Sing, bird, or die" could now read "Tweet, bird, or die.") But what happens to the people who want to communicate in depth, individual to individual, in the quiet and permanence of the printed word, and who were shaped by their love of writers who wrote when publication still assured some kind of quality control and literary reputations were more than a matter self-promotional decibel levels?A video on the book project can be found here. SF
Scientists desperate to have an "impact" in their field are cherry-picking and misrepresenting their results. It's the natural result of a desperate scramble to publish.
Adequate funding has been allotted for universities to meet the cost of open access, the government has maintained.Times Higher Education.
agreement. (In German)
A large international group set up to test the reliability of psychology experiments has successfully reproduced the results of 10 out of 13 past experiments. The consortium also found that two effects could not be reproduced.
Open science and open publishing is the future. The old model, where publishers end up owning the work they publish, is closely connected to having papers printed on paper. When papers now no longer are distributed in print, but only exist as abstract bits on hard disks, it is becoming hard to justify this model.
Oppose Section 302 of the proposed FIRST Act
A discussion draft of the Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science and Technology Act of 2013 (FIRST) currently being circulated would impose significant barriers to the public’s ability to access to taxpayer funded research by restricting federal science agencies’ ability to provide timely, equitable, online access to articles and data reporting on the results of research that they support. The proposed FIRST Act is not in the best interests of the taxpayers who fund the research, the scientists who make use of it by accelerating scientific progress, the teachers and students who rely on its availability for a high-quality education, and the thousands of U.S. businesses, both small and large, which depend on public access to stay competitive in the global marketplace. One provision of the bill – Section 302 – would undercut federal agencies’ ability to effectively implement the widely-supported White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Directive on Public Access to the Results of Federally Funded Research, undermine the public access program pioneered by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and put the U.S. at a severe disadvantage among our global competitors.SPARC.
Two medical students are helping to turn the dream of making scientific research papers freely accessible into a reality, using the internet of course Some say the meek will inherit the earth but in fact it will be the young. More especially, those young people who know their way around computer technology and who have sparks of imagination and creativity. The Guardian, Occams's Corner.The Open Access Button.
If you have an Open Access Resource or Organization you'd like to have included on the map, please use the Add Item feature to share your contribution with the project.
November edition the future of open educational ressources and its innovational approach in practice.
There are a lot of extremely good arguments to defend the fact that Science (as a whole) should be more open. To summarize them very roughly: it's the ethical thing to do as it allows everyone to access information, it's easier for scientists to access information, it's faster than the traditional peer-review system when you need to get your work noticed, and it's much less expensive than closed-source science.Blog.
Almost one in three (29%) large clinical trials in the United States remain unpublished five years after they are finished, according to scientists writing in the British Medical Journal. Of those, 78% have no results at all in the public domain.
Today’s young researchers are frequently dismayed to find their pain-staking work producing quality reviews overlooked or discouraged by journalistic editorial practices. In response, the research community has risen to the challenge of reform, giving birth to an ever expanding multitude of publishing tools: statistical methods to detect p-hacking, numerous open-source publication models, and innovative platforms for data and knowledge sharing.