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Comments on: Open Access Publishing





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By: Computational Neuroscience (and Programming) Blog » Blog Archive » Carnivals & Other Posts

Thu, 21 Sep 2006 00:27:18 +0000

[...] There is also an interesting post on open access publishing here.   [...]



By: Ivars

Sat, 16 Sep 2006 10:23:59 +0000

All scientific information must be free and accessible to users; It does not matter whatever model is used as long as it serves the purpose and moves in right direction of increased availability. If it stops to serve its purpose, it will be changed or eliminated. No need to worry about the RIGHT solution. When time will come, old style publishers will dissappear, but to achieve that, competition with open access is needed. It is very OK to start it by funding the current publishers into their own elimination. Why not?



By: TheGraduate

Fri, 15 Sep 2006 15:11:53 +0000

I think there are definitely some externalities concerning the buying and selling of journals. The publishing company provides two services to the academic community, the actual physical journal and the prestige of association with that journal either through publishing in that journal, editing that journal or reviewing for that journal. I think this situation is somewhat similar to the fashion industry where one both pays for the article of clothing and the prestige (or branding) or that article. I think this situation almost certainly guarantees that the academic community is overpaying relative to the actual cost of manufacture and administration of the journal. The prestige end of things functions like a tournament. In other words, a large number of researchers support the system, so that a few can excel by publishing in the most exclusive journals. But frankly, statistics on the number of papers published by most academics suggest that most academics don't benefit at all. The journal end functions in a monopolist manner as one can not buy equivalent product from different producers. In other words, all around this system is pretty horrible. Note, the benefit to an individual academic in terms of submitting to a prestigious journal and advancing his career is paid for by the ENTIRE academic community. Isn't this madness? I think the way to achieve low prices is pretty well explored ground. Many producers, equivalent product across producers, transparency in terms of determining costs and benefits.



By: Stinker

Fri, 15 Sep 2006 12:13:27 +0000

Sounds reasonable. I think the main difference is who bears the cost. The buyer of the book presumably wants to buy the book; the temporary instructor laid off because his university finds it more important to maintain a subscription to (insert your favorite crap Elsevier journal here) presumably does not want to maintain that subscription. Which is to say when one submits articles to commercial journals the cost is felt by someone else; when one publishes one's book on blah-blah it is only the publisher and the buyer who face any costs. To put it still another way - a lot of the more expensive commercial journals are closer to vanity presses than a lot of folks like to admit - their quality is low, the barrier to publication is low, and the main reason for submitting to them is to pad one's CV, which as we all know is very important for the good of humanity (at least a small part of it).



By: woit

Fri, 15 Sep 2006 11:02:57 +0000

Stinker, The main problem with commercial scientific journals is the high cost, which can be $1-2 per page. You can buy my book on Amazon for about $18, which is around $.06 per page (and the paperback will be cheaper). If commercial journals were charging $.06 per page, no one at all would be complaining. It's the very high costs which are causing serious problems for library budgets, causing them to have to cancel journals and not buy books, ending up with journals only being accessible at a small number of wealthy institutions. Personally I also find books and journal articles to be quite different in that it often makes sense to read a journal article on line, or print out a copy to look at, but I neither want to have to print out, nor try and read on a computer screen, a 300 page book. For books like mine, the amount publishers charge to produce a well-made printed version seems reasonable. What is more of a problem are technical monographs that are often sold for $100 and up, raising the same kind of problems of affordability and accessiblity as journal articles.



By: Stinker

Fri, 15 Sep 2006 08:58:48 +0000

If you believe in open access, how come your book is not available for free on the web? What's the difference between commercial journal publishers and commerical book publishers besides that the former don't pay authors?



By: jeremy

Thu, 14 Sep 2006 03:58:52 +0000

John Baez writes: “So, most academics will do whatever they can to collect scraps of prestige: giving talks at conferences, organizing conferences, serving on advisory boards, publishing in prestigious journals, publishing books at prestigious presses, etcetera. If you want to see all these scraps of prestige lined up neatly and organized, just look at job applications. Anyone on hiring committees will know what I mean. In short: to get an academic to do something, just dangle a bit of prestige in front of him. Companies aren’t dumb: they know this.” The price of the prestigious, and not so prestigious, journals and the prestige sought by academics to advance their careers are two different things. One is created by the publisher, the Companies; the other is the product of the academics. All the prestige collecting activities listed above are in fact have nothing to do with the Companies. It is fair to argue about the sky rocketing journal prices, but it would be unfair to accuse the publishers for dangling “a bit of prestige in front of” academics. It is not too difficult to find that although the Companies publish the prestigious journals, but none of the editors and the editorial board members of those journals comes from the Companies. In fact, the Companies do not even have much to say about who should be in the editorial board. It is the academics that serve as the editors of the journal choose other academics as editorial board members. It is also the decision of these people to publish or not publish a submitted paper. In many cases, it is the editors who will do things such as inviting “bigshots” writing review papers and organizing special issues for the journal to make the journal more prestigious. The survival of the academics is also decided by other academics based on the, sometime unspoken, rules by the academics. The real problem is the system. A system created by academics themselves. The Companies, at most, take advantage of the system, but who wouldn’t. We can hardly blame them. The price of the journal, as the price of anything else, is controlled by the market. It is a problem that can, and will be, solved by the market force. (Game theory?)



By: Exploited

Wed, 13 Sep 2006 16:43:58 +0000

I do not have a research position, and probably will not have one in the foreseeable future. At the same time, I continue to publish papers in very prestigious peer-reviewed journals, at the top of their range. In this research, I invest most of my waking existence not taken up by my actual paid duties, and I get paid nothing for it. In most publishing models, the author gets paid by the publisher, or in royalties, or both. Yet I am expected to provide my work, from which the publisher derives obvious economic benefit, entirely for free. The fact that I collaborate in my own oppression, in order to be taken seriously, probably shows me for the idiot I am. Still, something is wrong with the model. It may have worked better in the past, but for people like me it fails miserably.



By: Peter Woit

Wed, 13 Sep 2006 03:21:43 +0000

Chris, Hard to say, the anti-spam feature is called "Akismet", most of the time it does a remarkably good job, which is why I keep using it. But it does make mistakes, often hard to tell why, except that links are something that make it suspicious (much of the spam consists just of links). It seems to use some proprietary algorithm running on their server, which they don't divulge. As far as I can tell, it also doesn't allow any configuration choices, e.g. I can't whitelist people



By: Chris W.

Wed, 13 Sep 2006 03:09:16 +0000

Can you suggest any guidelines about including links, other than "don't do it" or "include them at your own risk"?