[clug] [OT] Open Source model needed for Academic Publishing?

Hal Ashburner hal at ashburner.info
Wed Aug 31 18:33:35 MDT 2011

On 01/Sep/2011, at 10:19 AM, Amit Saha wrote:

> On 31/08/11 22:24, Carlo Hamalainen wrote:
>> On Wed, Aug 31, 2011 at 6:06 PM, steve jenkin<sjenkin at canb.auug.org.au>  wrote:
>>> "Academic publishers make Murdoch look like a socialist":
>>>  [Academic publishers charge vast fees to access research paid for by
>>> us. Down with the knowledge monopoly racketeers.]
>> This sort of thing really irks me.
>> http://carlo-hamalainen.net/blog/2009/05/11/open-access/
>> quoting Springer when I got a paper published in one of their journals:
>> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> Authors opting for Open Access in the Springer Open Choice program,
>> agree to pay the article processing fee. The standard fee is US$3000.
>> Customers in the Americas will be charged in US dollars, and customers
>> in Europe, Asia, and Africa will be charged the equivalent fee in Euros.
>> VAT and other applicable taxes are not included in the standard fee of
>> US$3000, and will be added according to the requirements of the country
>> where the order is placed.
>> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> So they want *me* to pay $3000 to have my paper available to the
>> public, when it was written with funding from the Australian
>> Government (an APA scholarship)? Ridiculous.
> :-) IMHO, that pretty much sums up the whole scenario. Why would *I* pay for publishing my article which I have already spent a significant amount of effort on, and _somebody_ is definitely paying my bills? It will take a lot of money in my banks to get into that kind of philanthropic state of mind. Yes, I definitely want my article to reach the widest possible audience, but why would I pay such exorbitant amount for it?  If I could have my way, I would write up all the research results I produce on my blog, but then they won't give me my Ph.D :) That would be open access without paying anyone. But that is far from being the state of the Iron walled academic fraternity..
> On another note, publishers these days are slowly but surely going to a state where they are forsaking the Quality for Quantity and hence revenue. I think it makes a lot of business sense for them. I think it is co-evolution in a very bad way:
> Students/researchers want to get their research published and publishers have a huge pool to earn money from. All for a relatively small effort of their own.

You're paying for the Attest service you get from the publication. i.e. the peer-review, editorial input and brand reputation of the publication that signals "this is a quality piece of research"

You may be paying too much money for this. 
The conditions may be to restrictive.

So what to do?
1. Make the leading journals open access but with the same or better peer-review and editorial quality. 
2. Get Academics to actually *promote* the open access journals as being the top journals in their field and the place you go first if what you have is the best work and only go to the incumbents if you're refused because your work isn't quite high enough quality.

But who runs these open-access journals? What's their quality incentive? Where do they get their funding? Can they be perceived as being impartial in the petty academic spats that are so very pervasive.

So it becomes a harder problem that it first seems and academics themselves deserve some share of the blame for the current situation.

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