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Research Funders punish open-access dodgers

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by Simon, Apr 9, 2014.

  1. Simon

    Simon

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    Funders punish open-access dodgers : Nature News & Comment

    At last....

    Open access had been mandatory for NIH studies funded since 2008 and for the UK's Wellcome Trust since 2006, but neither got tough until 2012, and many researchers didn't take it seriously. Compliance is now up to 82% for NIH, but has only reached 69% for the Wellcome Trust, meaning that around one third of newly-published studies are behind a paywall - even though a condition of the grant is that such papers are open access.

    Read the original article
     
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  2. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    I did not realize there was this push to get researchers to publish under open access.

    However, how does this push square with the prevalent view that open access journals do not have the same editorial or peer-review standards as traditional paywall journals?
     
  3. Simon

    Simon

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    The simple answer to this is that most top-ranked journals, including Nature and Science, also allow Open Access publication.

    Additionally, a new journal called eLife - backed by the Wellcome Trust amongst others, has been set up to rival top journals but on a Open Access only model. It has an impressive board of editors.

    A more nuanced views is that Open Access journals can have standards as high as more prestigious journals but are freer of the desire to publish 'ground-breaking' work that will attract subscribers. The problem with this obsession with ground-breaking work is that it encourages authors to push the interpretation of findings, and to only publish eye-catching stuff. Eye-catching stuff by it's very nature - big effect size, unexpected results - is more likely to be a false positive. Many journals even have policies against publishing simple replications of work - even though such replication confirming or refuting initial findings is the gold standard of science.

    Nature and other top journals have had to retract a number of such eye-catching studies.

    By contrast, PLoS One and its sister journals only requires work to be methodologically sound. Replications are welcome. I'm not trying to say that PLoS is better than Nature, but that prestige is a double-edged sword that doesn't always foster the highest standards.

    Sorry, this issue is often raised in blogs but I can't find a link to hand - it's often raised as one of the problems facing Life Science
     
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  4. Valentijn

    Valentijn Activity Level: 3

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    Open Access just means that it's free for readers. Usually researchers can pay a fee to the journal to have open access for their article. Presumably, the organizations providing the research grants in these cases expect some of the money to be used to publish it as an open access article.
     
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  5. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    The change in the business model that is necessary when you move from subscription journals to open access journals may not necessarily be a good step, in terms of journal standards. It seems to me that some open access business models have intrinsic problems related to quality control. If income is received from the researchers for each paper published (I think the publication fee charged by open access journals can be in the order of £2000 per paper), it is obviously in the financial interests of the journal to publish as many papers as it can, and this conflicts with the quality control requirement to be selective about publication, and to reject papers when they do not meet stringent peer review standards. This conflict does not arise in subscription journals.

    I think this is why there is a general feeling in the academic world that open access journals perhaps do not have the same quality standards as subscription journals.

    However, one interesting new open access journal called PeerJ gets around this problem by not charging researchers for publication (they just charge just a nominal fee of £59), and making their money through advertising.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2014

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