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(Open Access)"50 Shades of Grey in Scientific Publication-How Digital Publishing Is Harming Science"

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by Dolphin, Nov 20, 2012.

  1. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member

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    I'm not convinced by some of his arguments. However, the fact that the journal mentioned in the last paragraph has gone under is concerning.

    It's a bit long and it's just one opinion which may not be full accurate so definitely not a must-read.
  2. Simon

    Simon

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    Thanks for posting but I thought it was a shockingly bad article. It's entirely valid to debate the problems of open access and who pays, but this article grossly misrepresents the reality, e.g. this:
    This ignores the teeny point that open access journals are peer reviewed, not vanity publishing (even though the author pays if accepted). Elsewhere he makes the case for journals being fairly rewarded for investing in high quality review. They don't - peer review is unpaid. Scientists write paperrs, peer review them (but can't read them). It also neglects the issue of the poor quality research. Psychology's problems were well covered in that recent special issue - yet almost every psychology journal is paid for by subscription, not open access. So much for the quality of published journals.

    He then argues that this is effectively wasting taxpayer dollars on paying to publish, neglecting to publish that most journal subscriptions are bought by taxpayer funded or subsidised institutions.

    Better stop there. Sorry, I'm probably the only person on PR who would get wound up by this!
    wdb, Purple and Dolphin like this.
  3. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    "Science is advanced by scientific publication. These changes in publishing will affect the future of science profoundly."

    Yes it will, and yes there are and will be problems. However science is fubar without open publishing. Its the future. There are not absolute reasons why open access has to be any less rigorous. Even with open access there will be rankings depending on quality. A journal that publishes rubbish regularly will still go under, as no scientist of worth will publish there, and credible scientists wont read it.

    Publishing problems are a bottleneck in science. They actually slow the scientific process, and worse than that they slow public participation in science at a time when its very important that the public be scientific literate. This is especially true due to failure to publish negative results and replication studies. Online open access publishing is a much better means to publish less spectacular but still very important research.

    Simon, you are quite right that the conventional publishing is not necessarily publishing quality, especially in medicine, and as part of medicine psychiatry and psychology probably have the worst track record. That special issue was saying the things I have been seeing more and more since January when I started investigating these issues, and I found it very welcome. At least many in psychology are aware of the issues and trying to address them ... if they succeed then psychology might be able to advance enough to get a solid footing in the sciences. Mind you I think this applies to biopsychiatry, and probably social psychiatry, and discliplines like cognitive science. I am not sure it applies to psycho-psychiatry. I am leaning more and more to the view that its reached its used by date. Its already long past its best before date.

    Bye, Alex
    Sasha likes this.
  4. gracenote

    gracenote All shall be well . . .

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    Simon and Alex,
    What is this "recent special issue" you speak of? Excuse me if I'm missing something obvious.

    Thanks.
  5. Mark

    Mark Acting CEO

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    Not quite the only person Simon. I would rant about this if I had time.

    The biggest irony for me in this piece is that the model he criticises is the Finch 'Gold' model of researchers paying publishers (out of their govt grants) to make their outputs open access - which is itself the result of lobbying by publishers to undermine the 'Green' open access model. Fields then criticises flaws in this model to try to further undermine the whole concept of open access. Steven Harnard has written extensively about the problems with the Finch report, which appears to do exactly the opposite of what it actually does - eg:

    http://openaccess.eprints.org/index...terests-Instead-of-UK-Research-Interests.html
    alex3619 and Simon like this.
  6. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    Logan, Queensland, Australia
    gracenote likes this.
  7. user9876

    user9876 Senior Member

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    He starts by confusing the production mechanism and means of consumptions of information with the actual information production cycle. For example, he critisises a publisher for outsourcing the printing process yet practically all manufacturing is outsourced theses days. He also comments on the lack of warehousing for book storage which shows his lack of understanding of technology changes in the print world. These days there are digital presses that can print individual copies of books hence reducing wastage and storage costs (although ink costs are slightly higher). I believe Amazon now print quite a lot of the less popular books on demand.

    He talks of the production process. My experiance is that most of the type setting is pretty automatic. Certainly conferences expect the authors to produce camera ready copy using LaTex or word style sheets. Some journals seem to do a little more work but its trivial. Computers have made typesetting cheap, the problem is that scientific publishing has become highly profitable and they don't want to let go. The university assessment system where journal impact scores are taken into account biases the market creating a ready paper supply for journals.

    As others have commented reviewers are not paid. Often the current review process is of poor quality.

    Rather than damning new technologies and styles there is a chance to change the way scientific publishing works. I would argue that raw data should be published along with reviews which should not be anonymous. This way academics could gain credit for good reviews and it would produce pressure to improve reviewing.

    The real issue with scientific publishing is that most papers are read by very few people.

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