|JournalFire makes it easy to share and discuss journal articles. Learn more...|
Ongoing discussion regarding the current state of scientific publishing and what we can do to improve it.
Tim Gowers has started a boycott of Elsevier - http://gowers.wordpress.com/2012/02/08/a-more-formal-statement-about-mat...
It was reported last week in Economist magazine.
Perhaps it will gain enough momentum to change something.
John Wilbanks, Vice President of Science Commons, will be at Caltech to talk about the Neurocommons, an open source knowledge management platform for researchers in neuroscience. The first phase of the project attempts to organize neuroscience knowledge by text mining biomedical abstracts. The project demonstrates the benefit of making research text and data openly available. The Neurocommons is just one small part of the Science Commons, an not for profit organization which works from the research level to the policy level in order to improve access to scientific research on the web. The full announcement is below.
May 5, 2008 at 4:00 p.m.
Seminar co-sponsored by CNS and Caltech Library ... read more
The proposal, which was voted on yesterday, requires that faculty members "make available his or her scholarly articles and to exercise the copyright in those articles. In legal terms, the permission granted by each Faculty member is a nonexclusive, irrevocable, paid-up, worldwide license to exercise any and all rights under copyright relating to each of his or her scholarly articles, in any medium, and to authorize others to do the same, provided that the articles are not sold for a profit." Authors will be able to request an exemption in writing, but the default state will be for new research to be made available to all.
This move comes in advance of a law that comes into effect this year, requiring any recipients of NIH funding ... read more
What's wrong with scientific publishing, and how do we fix it?
Panel Discussion on Scientific Publishing, Part 2
Wednesday Nov 28, 3:30pm. (Refreshments at 3:10pm)
Beckman Institute Auditorium
Join us for the second in a series of panel discussions on the turbulence in scientific publishing, featuring an insider's view of the publishing world and a discussion of what needs to change.
Jasna Markovac, former Senior Vice President at Elsevier
Markovac received her PhD from University of Michigan in 1983, did a postdoc in molecular biology at UCLA, and held faculty positions at U Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor and at Mt Sinai School o ... read more
I have a piece in the California Tech today on this subject, which I'm hoping will raise a bit more campus-wide attention in this issue. It's a little more negative/ alarmist than I had intended, mostly due to space constraints and some back-and-forth with the editor. It's at http://tech.caltech.edu/Tech2.0/11_12_2007/article21.html
If the scientific community ceased publishing in for-profit journals tomorrow, I am concerned that they could retaliate by raising the barriers to our accessing the copyrighted literature they have accumulated over the past decades. I understand that Congress has mandated that NIH funded research must be in the public domain one year after it is published. Is anyone aware of efforts that are already underway to lobby for additional legislation that could help enable us to break free of for-profit publishers?
I looked up a number of journals on journalprices.com, as was recommended during the recent session.
Suprisingly I found that the "high profile" journals we often complain about aren't actually more expensive than
the new open access journals (at least using the measure this website uses).
example (Relative Cost Index):
PLOS Biology: 0.12
Journal of Neuroscience: 0.28
So, does this mean that in terms of effective cost for the institute (including what the library pays for access in terms of Nature, or the author in terms of PLOS), is Nature the cheapest of the above?
From this it seems to me that the journal that are really the problem are high priced, commerical journals that few people read but charge a high access fee.
For example: Hippocampus (3.1) or Cognitive Neuropsychology (3.98) (and there are many with >40).
Thus, high-profile journals like Nature are _not_ the problem?
Scholarly societies are a place where the members, the scientists, should have clout to affect change. Unfortunately, many societies have contracted with for-profit publishers (Wiley, Blackwell, Elsevier) to manage their journal. This lock-in to a cash flow and contract has made it difficult for the society leadership to re-envision their business as builders of a community of practice and intellectual pursuit able to enhance knowledge sharing among their members. Here, finally, is an article stating the case for change and its arguments support the principles behind JournalFire.
Chris Armbruster, Moving out of Oldenbourg's long shadow: what is the future for society publishing? Abstract: "The Internet and the ris ... read more
Perhaps the single most important tenet of science is that nothing is taken for granted, and that everything can, and should, be questioned. But questioning of scientific statements can only be achieved if they are enunciated in sufficient detail that they can be evaluated rationally. As much as ever, scientists rely on short publications, such as those of Nature, to keep abreast of the literature. Space constraints in such publications, however, often force authors to reduce manuscripts to such a bare minimum that essential information is omitted, leaving novel, statements unreferenced and unexplained. This often impairs readability and comprehensibility. But even more importantly, it leaves those statements uncontestable. Almost irrefu ... read more
The future of scientific publishing is the subject of intense debate both in government, academic and industry circles these days (Nature 431, 111 (2004)). The introduction late last week of a Beta release of Google Scholar, a freely available search engine for the scientific literature, makes the issue as topical as ever –articles in non-peer-reviewed archives, such as arXiv, stand side-by-side with those in peer-reviewed journals. Is this a democratization of science under way? Or is it a loathsome drop in the standards? I make the case here that the current peer review and scientific publishing system is obsolete. Below, I explain why, review alternative systems that have emerged recently and their own problems, propose a new emergi ... read more
Lessons from Industry
Of the times I remember reading a scientific paper in depth, I think I have found errors more times than not. And this is without counting errors which are undetectable with the information available in the paper itself. Most of these errors are not easily detectable --they have come up when I have studied a paper to present at journal club, for example. I don't mean typos --the errors I am talking about include conceptual errors that make the conclusions of a paper wrong. And I don't mean papers published in unknown journals, but ones published in some of the most well-respected ones, like Nature.
Why are so many papers flawed? The increasing complexity of scientific methods calls for most contemporar ... read more
The legacy pattern of authors transferring copyright to publishers for the service of peer-review, certification and distribution needs to stop for the research community to have the flexibility for new solutions and to make the most of their work. When copyright is transferred to publishers the sharing and re-use of results among researchers is severely limited because the right to reproduce, copy and distribute is no longer within the rights of the author. To make the most of new technologies to find more effective ways to make the most of research results authors can and should:
- change publisher agreements or add an addendum to retain copyright and award a nonexclusive license to the publisher to publish and distribute onli ... read more
Thank you to all those who attended tonight's discussion. Also an additional thank you to the other panelists and moderator. To those who were not able to attend, please feel free to join in on our dialog.
One of the goals of tonight’s discussion was to see what issues regarding scientific publishing, if any, resonate within the community. In this respect, the meeting was a great success. Close to 100 members of the Caltech community attended with the discussion continuing well over 2 hours after the initial presentation ended. Some issues that were brought up include: increasing access to published papers, encouraging authors to retain copyright of their work, making peer review more open and transparent, new ways of asses ... read more