With sci-hub (and with some reference books obtained via libgen), science becomes accessible to everyone with basic scientific literacy - a surprising large number of people. I see these two tools together as enablers of a new generation of scientists. For instance, recently I have seen many of my collegues and friends sending me direct links to research papers. That’s crazy and would have never happened just a few years ago. These tools will drive the democratization of science. Just as I now see the religious kids at the coffee shop discussing their scripture, I hope to soon see science kids there discussing classic science papers - doing it not for economic or career reasons, but simply to understand and discover.
To me, that’s not an economic issue but one of morality.
>science becomes accessible to everyone with basic scientific literacy
The thing is most research papers are simply not accessible to neophytes; you often need to dedicate a significant portion of your life to the study of a given field in order to understand and critically evaluate the latest research in that field. It's not that academics are sitting in a high throne, dictating what is truth and what is not, its that you need to be an academic with many years of formation in order to understand, let alone improve, the research that is being undertaken. A "basic science literacy" isn't enough.
Still, it's very positive that, in principle, anyone can grab a book or three of libgen, study hard, become knowledgeable in the field, then grab as many papers as they want off libgen and read and interpret them. That's undoubtedly very positive.
If a paper doesn't link back to its foundations directly (citations) and clarify its assumptions, that isn't the fault of the reader.
One really dumb thing that many academics do is, in an effort to be respected in their field or accepted to a solid paper or a good conference, they write obscurely. With very few exceptions, this results in bad science writing because the point of science writing is to express clearly and precisely the steps and formulations that lead to an ideological or project accomplishment. But that bad writing doesn't make the paper less intelligible for normal people. It simply makes it take longer to read, for a typical person.
One of the reasons it's easier to understand research than to do it, is that it's easier to verify a solution than to create it. This is the famous Columbus' Egg, and it is a principle that should be well known to computer scientists who understand the time complexity of verification versus solution.
So, I argue that basic science literacy is enough to understand and critique. Verification of an idea is different than creating it. Papers that don't reference how they fit into their field are flawed in a way that can't be blamed on the reader. Obscure, bad writing doesn't change the meaning of a paper, even if it hides it. And the basic tool of science is a pretty accessible idea.
Because it appear to me that papers like (picking one from the front page of cell.com) http://www.cell.com/molecular-cell/fulltext/S1097-2765(18)30... "A Metabolic Basis for Endothelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition" require a lot of specialized knowledge to understand.
The same for https://arxiv.org/abs/1802.02935 "Suppression and revival of long-range ferromagnetic order in the multiorbital Fermi-Hubbard model", picked from a recent arxiv.org preprint in condensed matter physics.
Or "High-Content Surface and Total Expression siRNA Kinase Library Screen with VX-809 Treatment Reveals Kinase Targets that Enhance F508del-CFTR Rescue" from https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.molpharmaceut.7b00928 .
What does "critique it creatively" mean?
I remember how long it took me, as a young smithling in graduate school, to read a scientific paper, in the field I was entering, where I had several years of education. It took a while to understand the literature, and even longer to be able to critique the literature in any more than superficial way.
I don't follow your comment "If a paper doesn't link back to its foundations directly". Papers are often like a skyscraper. The 50th floor links back to the 49th, which links back to the 48th. There are support structures which might span a few dozen floors, and (to stretch the analogy), express elevators connecting it to the ground floor.
But few papers really reference the foundations, because the audience is expected to know the foundations.
People have endless time to become experts on quackery and pop science; wouldn't it be nice to start seeing people who have taken up actual science as a hobby, and take it seriously enough to hold themselves to the same standards as professionals - or as seriously as the 20-somethings that are often writing these things?
Also, plenty of people get professional training, and end up working outside of the field. What if they want to continue learning? Is it somehow physically impossible for them to understand journal articles if they are not connected to an institution with journal subscriptions, even with training?
Take a look at the other articles in the current issue of Cell, at http://www.cell.com/cell/current . (This is one of the journals with the highest impact factors, so is less likely to consider the deliberately opaque language you mention.) You'll see the one I gave was not even the densest in that issue. Here are the titles to some of the others:
"Fast-Spiking Interneurons Supply Feedforward Control of Bursting, Calcium, and Plasticity for Efficient Learning", "In Situ Structure of Neuronal C9orf72 Poly-GA Aggregates Reveals Proteasome Recruitment", "5-HT2C Receptor Structures Reveal the Structural Basis of GPCR Polypharmacology", "Abstract Image
Multiscale Structuring of the E. coli Chromosome by Nucleoid-Associated and Condensin Proteins", or "KRAS Dimerization Impacts MEK Inhibitor Sensitivity and Oncogenic Activity of Mutant KRAS".
I submit that your original statement, that "most people who studied an empirical discipline in college and did ok (good school and/or good grades) can pick up a paper and, using the internet, understand and critique it creatively within three weeks." is woefully undervaluing the expertise needed for each field.
I have 3 years of post-graduate education in physics. I can't read a chemistry paper for the life of me. I never even took organic chemistry. I find the idea that I can critique a paper on, say, some new reaction, with only a few weeks of internet-based research, to be ludicrous.
I note that you appear to have changed your statement. Originally it was just college, and now it's "another 3-4 years of post-graduate education." Originally it was "creatively within three weeks" and now it's "understand journal articles" with no time limit.
It feels like you think my objection to your original claim is representative of some absolute stance of mine against amateurism. As an amateur historian, I do not see how you have made that shift, nor do hold that opinion.
I don't understand the relevancy of your second paragraph at all. People get into quackery and pop science because it seems easy, and it comes with the built-in belief that experts are wrong and can be ignored.
If anything, it is the quacks and fringe science people who believe that three weeks of research is enough for them to be able to critique the standard views on evolution, global warming, chemtrails, pyramid construction, shape of the earth, etc., and critique to such a level that they should be listened to.
Nor do I understand the relevancy of your third paragraph. Could you clarify how you drew that inference from what I wrote? I am not connected to an institution with journal subscriptions yet I read and understand journal articles (acquired through ILL, links from Google Scholar, and yes, even Sci-Hub), so obviously I think it's physically possible for that to happen.
Are you sure you haven't just misunderstood my previous comment?
I'm pretty much going where most HN comment threads go - nowhere.
Where are you going by making a metacomment?
I assume it means to critique it using modern interpretive dance.
I suspect there are insufficient focused waking hours in a three week period for any old university graduate to achieve that.
If I branch out into a nearby sub-discipline I end up spending a lot of time reading a lot of papers just to get sufficient context to make sense of a single paper, and that is starting from a base of knowledge of the broader discipline accumulated by someone several years post-PhD.
Even for practicing scientists, non-superficial critique of anything outside of ones immediate area of expertise takes work.
To work efficiently in your own sub-discipline, you have to be at the point where you can see references to Smith & Jones (1992) and implicitly know what that paper is about, and why it is referenced. That takes experience (you have to have read a lot of papers so you are already familiar with a reasonable portion of the references in a given paper) and you have to be practicing, (or at least I have to), otherwise you start to forget.
To most neophytes that is. We only need a few of those with recently gained access to turn out to be a dormant Newton or Einstein. Society as a whole gets a better bargain.
That very much depends on how you define "neophyte" and what field you're talking about. You don't need to be a doctor to make sense of most clinical trials, you just need a reasonable education in statistics. A mechanical engineer can usefully learn from a lot of materials science or fluid dynamics research. Our society is increasingly well-educated, which creates a huge number of people who can make use of sci-hub in one way or another.
If you're writing papers that are of no use whatsoever to anyone outside of a tiny coterie of specialists in your field, then either you're doing absolutely cutting-edge theoretical work or you're just really bad at writing papers.
I've learned a lot about things I never thought I would be interested in by searching for terms and maths that I saw in papers and didn't understand.
It's not like I've become an expert in anything new, but it gets me thinking about all kinds of interesting things. It makes me want to go back to school, and reinforces the idea that I could create more if I did.
So I know that not everyone sees it this way, but I think that gating the means to easily access that sort of aspirational hope and inspiration is reprehensible.
The other thing is that it's not just neophytes without access. Heck, even in-academia researchers often have insufficient access (I recently spoke to someone at Nancy, France, which is wealthy enough), let alone the droves of former academics.
Ultimately, Sci-hub is often an easier and more pleasant way to get papers you have legitimate access to. At this point, I don't think there's anyone in my department that doesn't use Sci-hub from time to time. It's basically expected that anyone on filing fees for dissertation writing will use sci-hub rather than go through the hassle of requesting a special library access code (since they're no longer 'paying/earning' tuition).
There's no going back.
Considering science is a community/social enterprise, it's surprising that such papers are published at all.
I don't think the analogy works. Luthor took a single text and translated it, making it accessible. The fact that it was accessible didn't affect the creation of the text.
By contrast "the interpretation and approval of academics from high-status institutions." is an intrinsic part of the creation of the document. It's part of the peer-review essential to the creation of good science.
Experts disagreeing on the fundamental nature of the holy trinity is not the same as experts disagreeing on the experimental design behind testing a new category of drugs.
This is not to say that peer review and expert validation doesn't have it's place in the process - but it could (should) be done in open, with as many eyes watching as possible. So IMHO anything that denies general public access to scientific work should be removed.
Martin Luther was an anti-semite and called for synagogues to be set on fire. Not a good comparison.
I realize I shouldn't be surprised, but that shocked me. God forbid taxpayers should have access to the research they paid for. How these organizations expect any public sympathy is beyond me.
However Open Access is not panacea. Most of the times it just moves the cost from the subscriber to the author. The open access costs are equally extortionate for several journals in the ballpark of £2000 for a single article. As a result publicly funded grants must also include a quite significant budget for publishing costs further inflating the already bloated administrative overhead of research programmes. So you either pay the journals to open up your article or pay for a subscription. It does increase visibility and accessibility of research but, still, we are not quite there yet.
I feel lucky to work in a field where journals are OA, but authors do not have to pay to publish. Our major journals are published by learned societies that were founded with endowments large enough to cover publication costs in perpetuity. In fact, that’s how a lot of journals used to be published before big publishers, like Elsevier and Springer, convinced those societies to entrust them with the journals, claiming it would make things easier for everyone.
My company has to pay to publish in our preferred journal of open access (PeerJ). I gladly pay for lifetime memberships for all of our authors, which is pittance and affords lifetime publication rights with no additional fees.
But we do pay. Most OA journals do have fee waivers and are very liberal with them, though.
But there is a fee. And it's important for supporters to be honest so it doesn't appear one-sided, so, here I am.
The NIH, the single biggest funder of research in the US, has an open access mandate.
All federally funded research in the US is mandated to be open access.
At this point the US government pretty much entirely works for monied interests. It has waxed and waned over the years but for the past thirty years or so, it has strongly waxed.
Peer review, while not perfect, guarantees that the text has been reviewed by quality researchers. Journals have an interest in filtering bad publications, if only to keep their reputation.
In contrast, a self-published paper has no guarantee of quality, simply because everyone can do it. An author's reputation is often a proxy to assess a publication's quality, but this is clearly bad for new researchers.
I think there are good alternatives - my last publication costed around $300, which were used to pay for the conference where I presented it.
Am I alone in seeing the contradictions, of people defending for-profit science publishing, using a vehicle whose very existence is predicated on government funded science and technology coming with 'its free' as a requirement?
Is it contradictory to support an industry which does that while supporting this? Would you be for the liberation of Google's property?
Publishers are the "gateway" to science, and they have cornered that market, using publicly funded science.
Google is the "gateway" to search, built largely using publicly funded science. Facebook is the gateway to online social interaction, and is again built largely using publicly funded science. Et cetera.
Publishers are not mere discovery services - they are gatekeepers, not portals.
There are moments which are not. I think their smarts behind ad placement logic and the ML derived stuff may be trade secret not patent. I believe their use of patents acquired through Motorola was defensive not offensive but I disliked that move.
Google exploit first mover advantage and category killer scale as much as IPR. If they used IPR as much as apple do, to defend the indefensible (slide to open for goodness sake) I'd repudiate that.
I don't entirely like Google. In this space is see them as a lesser evil than say SCO or Oracle
The big publishers are public parasites that make money off the work of other people and through controlling information and progress. The quicker they go into the dustbin of history the better. My issue is less with the argument and more with the general sentiment.
I don't understand how we can get outraged that companies like Elsevier operate this way when it is fundamentally the same closed model that is so prevalent in tech. I don't imagine as an industry we are so self-unaware, contradictory, or (to use a less nice word) hypocritical, but the sentiment doesn't match with the actions of this industry. where does the disconnect come from?
We celebrate piracy in this thread, but if these same tactics were turned on almost any company represented on HN, it would not be seen as a virtue.
They're totally different. If tech were like academic publishing, software would be developed in publicly-subsidized studios and then given, for free, to for-profit distributors. These distributors would play no significant part in the development of the software, but would happily charge the public an arm and a leg for any usage of it.
Or you implement IETF RfCs. There's an FTP server with all standards documents. If you have just email but no Internet yet (think uucp mail or bbs), there's a service where you can request documents to be sent to you.
"On the one hand information wants to be expensive, because it's so valuable. The right information in the right place just changes your life. On the other hand, information wants to be free, because the cost of getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time. So you have these two fighting against each other."
Brand wasn't a naive utopian; he acutely understood the conflicts that the internet would bring about.
@pwinnski - This is likely either a dialect or national language issue. In the US, at least the section where I am from, freeways are what you might call highways. They have no traffic lights, are high speed, and have toll booths for entry and spread along them at intervals. Hence the reason I stated their naming quite ironic! They are built by government, but are not freely available. Responding here since hacker news seems to stop you from replying in a thread once something you post has been mass downvoted.
You may be conflating price with cost, but the two are not the same. The government funding of the cost of freeways means that the price is free to all users.
However yes, public highways cost money to maintain. They can’t be truly free unless the construction and maintenance were free - donated land and volunteer labour? Right. Otherwise somebody has to pay for it.
Frankly it’s potentially the same way with published scientific papers, we do need a system of professional peer review. That could be voluntary, but would probably be better if it were independently funded in some way. ArXiv is one approach but I’m not sure it’s a complete solution.
So to fit the road tax model - we already pay for research. So let's add 0.0001$ extra tax for publishing, and kill off the current publishers.
If the complaint is that roads require maintenance and are therefore not free, that's a torture of the word.
"Unfortunately, the Verge article about Sci-Hub founder Alexandra Elbakyan has many inaccuracies"
"I'm going to publish a separate blog post explaining the inaccuracies later"
I work in book publishing, not journals, so I may be missing something in Nature's internal structure, but that seems like a lot to spend on one article. As in I think we spend less than that to do a whole book.
Bjoern Brembs has been writing a lot about open access publishing and the costs associated, here he cites a few numbers:
>There is ample material on how much the publication of a scholarly open-access article costs. SciELO publishes for under US$100 per article. SciELO, however, publishes largely in regions of the world where labor and other associated costs are comparatively low. How much costs do other organizations cite? The Open Library of Humanities is on the record with about US$500, Ubiquity, Hindawi and PeerJ are also on record within the US$100-500 range and Scholastica, RIO Journal, Science Open, F1000Research or arpha mention similar figures. Thus, there are now about ten different companies or organizations which all agree that open access publishing costs about US$100-500 and Independent analysts agree: it is established that the actual costs of publishing a scholarly article are in the low hundreds of US$.
Note that he focuses on open access articles, not closed access + open access articles, but I can't think of a reason why closed access would cost more.
Just a very rough calculation: If Nature has a staff of around 150 , each paid $100,000 year, 50 issues per year, 20 research articles per issue. This gives
150 times 100,000/(50 times 20) = $15,000 per article.
My numbers are probably off in more than one way.
Nature drops about 95% of submitted papers somewhere in the pipeline, so part of the costs applies to 20x more papers than you see in the end.
If an editor can survive with these fees even when the paper will be publicly available, how can Nature need $30,000 for a paper people will pay to read?
Ordinary scientific journals don't have reviewers in paid staff. An editor sends an article (without reading it) to 2-4 non-paid reviewers, and makes the publish / don't publish decision based on the reviews. Also the editor is not paid, either.
Also, vetting submissions should be a relatively small part of your time. When you're reading a lot of submissions, you learn how to weed out the weak fairly quickly.
Nature have paid editors who also review articles before they go out for peer review, which means they have fairly obvious costs per article submitted (on top of other things like organising peer review). However, you don't pay to submit, you only pay if you're accepted. Nature accepts, I think, about 5% of the articles submitted to them. That means that for every fixed cost per submission the cost per paper published is 20x higher.
> However, you don't pay to submit, you only pay if you're accepted.
I should have been clearer that the main Nature journal does not, I believe, charge for accepted papers as it charges readers instead. However the general setup is that with open access papers people pay only if accepted.
That page also says ”On submission, the manuscript is assigned to an editor covering the subject area, who seeks informal advice from scientific advisors and editorial colleagues, and who makes this initial decision”
⇒ multiple persons, some of them employed by Nature, read each paper. Nature’s editors are highly educated (https://www.nature.com/nature/about/editors/), so their time won’t be cheap.
That can add up. For example, _if_ it costs a manweek to decide whether to do peer review on a single paper, finding that one accepted paper out and would be a quarter of a man year of work. I guess the actual effort is lower, but still significant. People have to read those papers, and that takes time.
And that is just step 1. Peer reviewers likely work for free, but managing volunteers costs money, too.
Another is that it's not the cost of one article, but also of every article they have had to reject instead of that one. That number is pretty high for Nature (the journal).
The Verge are definitely misunderstanding Elbakyan when she says this:
>"the capitalists have started blocking Sci-Hub domains, so the site may not be accessible at the regular addresses."
Elbakyan is referring to Elsevier and the ACS and the other major publishes putting pressure on SciHub and making it inaccessible. No capitalists are using the service in the Marxist sense of the word "capitalist" which is definitely what Elbakyan was going for.
The Verge's writing here misrepresents what she's saying, and truly does change the message of what she has said. I think they need to edit and fix that.
And she'll go into more detail later: https://twitter.com/Sci_Hub/status/961836113731072003
2) Also probably not. Because most papers aren't read widely. The folks I know who have things that generate a small drip of royalties (usually licenses from patents) treat it as a nice little bit of fun-money, but it's nowhere near enough to either fund a lab or really change the calculus of "Is this job worth doing" from a monetary perspective.
Especially when compared to "Fuck it, I'll go work for industry."
I'd probably divide the number of citation in math by 3 and in physics by 5 to discount repetitions.
Has there been a noticeable impact on general scientific progress as a result?
I feel like there must at least be anecdotal stories of people reading, exploring and making connections they otherwise would not have been able to because free > $35/paper.
EDIT: In my opinion Elbakyan should be considered one of the most important people of her generation. It is my belief that academia will see fit to write her out.
And I wonder how many of those people don't know about DeepDyve.com? It's essentially Spotify for journals. The $49/month ($30/month if you buy a yearly subscription) plan gives unlimited online access to most papers from a huge list of journals  from a huge list of publishers . (There are also group plans available, but they don't list the prices for those on their website, as far as I can see).
You can also buy 5 packs of rental tokens for $20. A rental token gives you access to an article for 30 days. People on the free plan get 5-minute full text previews, so you can at least skim an article to get a better idea if you want to consume a token to rent it.
Open access is much nicer, of course, but most cases I've seen where someone says that the cost of non-open access, such as the $35/paper so many publishers charge if you buy directly through them, was a serious issue to their research would have been able to get those papers through DeepDyve at a cost well within their budget, but for some reason very few people in the wild seem to have heard of it even though it has been around for quite a while.
Out of five major journals in my discipline, four are "Preview Only."
What a surprise. "Huge list," indeed.
> What a surprise. "Huge list," indeed.
The journal list there lists ~13100 journals, of which ~9200 are available and ~3900 are preview only. Seems reasonable huge to me.
Also, I find the idea of merely 'renting' a paper objectionable. Deepdyve charges individually for PDF downloads, and otherwise only allows you to print 20 pages a month.
EDIT: The CompSci people themselves that are pushing progress often cite paywalled works. That may also support that access to them would accelerate progress outside CompSci if its a prerequisite to developer certain ideas evolving from older ones.
Now I get the DOI/pubmed #, go directly to scihub (or at least one of the scihub domains that isn't blocked by the hospital for being "unethical") and have the paper in 20 seconds.
Richard Stallman is another example of such a person, I think. You have to be an extremist to make other players in the field to yield.
Why can't peer to peer file sharing like Direct Connect be used for such purposes? People have successfully used i2p, torrents, emule,etc.?
Can they be tracked and shut down?
As someone who is just out of a grad programme and no longer has access to the university network, I'm incredibly thankful to her.
I wish putting papers on ArXiV were the norm in all disciplines, not just math/physics/cs, but until that happens, this is the answer (and when it does, SciHub will essentially become a mirror). The licensing deals that the publishers have made with countries like Germany are still extortion, and aren't a solution.
You can learn more about SciHub, and LibGin (a similar project for science books which mirrors SciHub articles) from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sci-Hub
The Wiki page also lists mirrors, in case any of the domains are blocked.
If you have some bitcoin to spare, SciHub is donation-supported, and you can help the fight to make science available to the people that do it - and everyone else.
For those out of the loop: currently, access to papers done by scientists (paid for by government/their home institution), typeset by the same scientists, reviewed by their peers (for free) and distributed electronically costs bug bucks to access.
The publishers still cite hosting/maintenance costs as a justification, and yet when someone manages to do the same for free (e.g. SciHub), the publishers go to war.
SciHub demonstrates that hosting costs are not a justification for atrocious access fees (to the tune of $30 to see one paper!), and yet the racketeering scheme (a relic from the days of Guttenberg's press) still, somehow, persists.
To address this problem, people in certain disciplines (math, physics) currently publish their pre-prints online on sites like ArXiV and their own university pages. However, these self-publication methods are not peer-reviewed, and so are not a direct solution to the problem. Some big-name scientists have started open-access online journals, but it's hard to get everyone on board, as academic performance evaluations are based on publications in well-established journals -- so only established academics can afford to be published in new journals when more established alternatives are present, but have little motivation to do so, since the university pays the access fee anyway.
SciHub is the interim solution to this chicken-and-egg problem. The long-term solution is still SciHub, but legal. Alexandra Elbakyan has done the footwork on the implementation side, the rest of the battle is going to be social (getting the academics on board) and legal (preventing the publishers like Elsevier from crushing the initiative, and, in the long run, destroying their monopoly on providing access to government-funded research altogether -- which means, effectively, wiping them out altogether).
All of this is talked about in the article in more detail.
LibGen is just the latest in a long series of pirate ebook libraries that have popped up and then been either shut down by copyright holders or abandoned by admins. It’ll eventually give way to another, and hopefully the next generation will maintain its strengths while having higher-quality metadata.
The rule of the thumb is to ignore the metadata and just look for the highest id number.
It's still библиотека колхоз in my mind (a predecessor whose contents was merged into LibGen).
It seems like fear is the motivating function for restriction of knowledge, and that is understandable.
In california, venture capital already funds more research than the NIH ($5B vs $1.5-2B). Much of this is one step later stage than academic research but increasingly they overlap directly. VC funding for life science research is skyrocketing, and NIH funding is declining. In January 2018 alone there was $1B invested in seed or series a biotech deals which is more than Stanford gets from the NIH in two years
The fact is that the publication bias is ruining scientific quality. Anywhere from 40-75% of academic science isn't reproducible, either because of chance, poor quality control / documentation, cherry picking data or outright fraud. The list of researchers and universities that VCs and pharma will work with is quite small, and many VCs are just funding the basic science themselves rather than invest in stuff that just doesn't work half the time https://lifescivc.com/2011/03/academic-bias-biotech-failures...
Young scientists are treated horribly by the academic world, with brilliant PhDs and postdocs with 15 years of research experience in top labs making barely minimum wage with no hope of tenure. Many universities make it very hard for students to explore non academic jobs because they realize they have the most highly educated captive workforce the world has ever seen
If a good alternative to working in academia opens up, things will change fast
Total NIH budget is like $32B. Half of that goes to basic research and some goes to non-life sci research. Life sci VC funding in 2017 was $15B. Some of that goes to admin costs obviously but not nearly as much as NIH if you look at headcount at companies
In comparison, the NIH funding is nation wide, and specifically has mechanisms for underfunded states. What do you think the ratio of funding between the NIH and life sci VC funding is in say...Idaho?
For what it's worth, I know there are movements to attract more VC funding to places like Pittsburgh, NYC, San Diego, Texas, North Carolina etc. still early stages, but I think in 15 years things could be very different
So, how open is open ?
They describe deep learning successes, with datasets that aren't public, on hardware that isn't public, with software that isn't public.
They describe technologies, be it spanner, borg, flumejava or others, relying on closed hard- and software.
If an average university professor can't replicate research 1:1 based solely on existing, open technology and the paper, the paper should not be accepted by any journal. In fact, it shouldn't even be accepted on conferences, or be able to get a doi code. That's not worthy of being called science.
Second, often the papers set prerequisites that are not available to anyone else, because these, too, are undocumented.
This is cool if you want an inspiration, but large parts of these papers are as useful as watching Star Trek for actual science. They can serve as inspiration, but they can’t tell you how to replicate something, or give you possible leads to expand on it.
And this issue gets even worse – if I’m writing an undergrad thesis on a tech that Google has several years lead on, my thesis won’t be able to produce anything new. I can’t expand on the state of the art, because the state of the art isn’t even available to me.
I'd much rather see them go down than be bought out.
How make a free high impact journal?
Sidenote: those pictures are creepy.
I'm also discovering that law-abiding is as much a reputation as a technicality. Companies get away with breaking the law all the time. They just aren't universally or publicly punished for it.
It seems like people are saying that there's some sort of capitalist code of conduct and Elsevier isn't living up to it, so it's not the fault of capitalism if the current situation sucks.
Shit. I am an owner of a company that makes millions of dollars per year and that is not how I run my business.
Hmm. I must have missed the ownership memo.
But that would be communism (I suppose) and I was asking if anyone was defending capitalism in this instance.
I'd imagine there are a number of scholars who don't agree with their papers being used this way, so there's certainly another side to it.
It does of course enable certain capitalist business models which involve controlling a scarce resource, even though in this case the scarcity is artificial and threatened by the likes of Sci-Hub.
Marginal cost is not the same as average cost. If it's OK to steal something that has high fixed cost but 0 marginal cost, then surely it's OK to steal groceries, or houses, which have low fixed costs and high marginal costs, yes?
According to that definition, it is possible to steal information: just delete their copies after making yours.
Then shouldn't they choose another journal to publish their paper in? Maybe open access?
Why don't they do that?
Is that why the journals charge money for access?
I have a response but that comment reply will cost 0.000000001BTC
For instance if the idea is that research is submitted to a private journal, as typical, but then the journal is not allowed to charge a fee then that is going to rather lower their prioritization of submissions from public research.
A far worse idea would be government covering the journal fees which would do the exact opposite and overly incentivize public research as companies could send their publication fees through the roof and still have them paid due to government price insensitivity.
Maybe another idea would to have a public government research journal where all research that received public funding is freely available. But this also runs into many problems. One would be that the fundamental point of a journal is to work as a filtering mechanism. We might argue that a lot of mediocre science gets published today, even in more reputable journals. And that's after some odd 80%+ of papers, for those more reputable journals, is rejected. A government clearing house would lose its purpose as a quality filter. And it would also run into the same problems as #1 if we then have the authors submit it in the private industry, where publishing rights/exclusivity are typically part of the model.
So what's the idea?
Open Access: PLoS https://www.plos.org/
Closed Access: (P)PNAS https://www.google.com/search?q=ppnas http://andrewgelman.com/2017/10/04/breaking-pnas-changes-slo...
Closed Access journals DO NOT serve as a quality filter. The unpaid peer-reviewers serve as a quality filter (and often a poot one anyway).
Similarly, the BMC-system appears to be having serious issues with turning around papers swiftly enough.
And like others have mentioned, a supplement is a great idea because of publication bias against things like negative results. However, I would again see this as supplementing and supplanting when I think most people here are gunning for the latter.
Academic papers are not read by the general public because they are dense and usually very technical, accessible to researchers in that field but not really to many others.
Given this, the subtext to arguments for open access that journal fees are stifling scientific awareness or potential research by depriving the public seems incorrect.
Because a relatively small specialist community actually consumes scientific literature, I don't see paid journals as some egregious societal inefficiency.
Universities make so much money nowadays that it's certainly a travesty if researchers have to pay for access to these journals themselves, but the point remains that it just doesn't seem like that big of a deal that the public doesn't have free access to scientific journals.
You underestimate how quickly a motivated person with a solid general education can start to understand specialized texts. In my case, I have recently been diagnosed with a chronic disease that changed my life, and that most of the doctors in my area are surprisingly ignorant about
Thanks to sci-hub, I've been able to access the latest research about my condition, and so have helped my doctors understand and offer me some of the latest therapies (in theory, that should be their job, but most doctors seem fairly uninterested, or else just too busy to care). I've been unable to work much since getting sick, so there's no way in hell I would be able to afford $30-40 a pop for journal articles. Besides, I'm already paying for the research in the form of 20+ years of tax payments.
And there are many people like me out there.
Are you concerned that your unsupervised human trials might harm your mother? Your anecdote makes a point in favor of restricting access.
$30-40+ per article is, effectively, no access. It's ridiculous. Well, it's access for the wealthy and academia I guess.
I read about a lot of stuff, many different subjects, and a lot of the papers by the people I want to read, and articles mentioned in other books and papers, are of this $30-to-view kind. It sounds like that never happened to you? I think this black-and-white elitist 'researchers vs public' idea is a silly model of reality. Even someone who's never read any papers in their life, may one day have some medical, legal, historical, artistic etc need or desire to become better educated in some area, which is prevented. Or was, before SciHub. But that's not an 'egregious inefficiency' so never mind?! That's a long way from As We May Think.
Also the very idea that it's ok to gatekeeper off knowledge that was paid with public funds because you think the general public won't be interested in it is ridiculous and wrong.
LOTS of people regularly read scientific papers - many people in technical fields, people who studied an area of research but are not active researchers, and so on.
I'm in no way saying these services couldn't easily be replicated at a much lower/negligible cost but they do provide a service.
Not necessarily. For-profit publishers today – perhaps more often than not – expect the unpaid volunteer editors of the journal to do any typesetting or copy-editing, and then just send the publisher a camera-ready PDF to print.
Other smart people, with some dedication and effort could learn enough to read scientific journals. People learn to read music or learn other languages. If you wanted to learn science you should have access to the works you helped fund.
So it's not just pedestrians who have problems accessing the most recent research information.
It might be true in some countries but that's certainly not the case everywhere.
This may include scanning old publications, OCR'ing them, and making them available for search and retrieval; a service which wasn't expected when the research was done.
This may include continuing content curation. I have sent corrections to a journal because their system contained incorrect information, such as in incomplete title. In one case they combined two letters to the editor into a single DOI entry, and needed to break it into two. They have staff which can handle those corrections, and those staff need to be paid.
They may also provide addition search capabilities beyond the free ones available from, say, Google Scholar, and they may update the interfaces for improved usability and for better integration with tools like citation managers.
While I don't see how those activities justify the current high prices, I disagree with the idea that public funding for the original research means there should be no additional funding for continued archiving and access.
Realistically, most people won't touch scientific papers. You might get a few people who can wrangle up incredible things from them, but those people would have succeeded in any environment. Most research will continue to be done at major institutions like companies and universities.
But that appeal to the heart is a winning argument, and it's not wrong. Open access in the end is a good thing, even if the arguments for it are stretched, and they are stretched. I don't trust a lot of my own colleagues to bulletproof their papers (get in a graduate course, you'll see how many holes are in most research), the general public with no scientific training is at best limited and at worst dangerous.
It is a natural step, though. Your's won't be a popular question (do we really have to downvote the guy for asking a question, even if you don't like that question?), but it's a good one.
I believe that specialists in a field are the ones who will actually make use papers. Specialists should have access, that's something I can get behind, but the general public as you say won't make use of research.
I understand what you're saying about appealing to emotion though.
Also consider that of every 200 PhD students, only one ends up with tenure. That means there are a lot of former academics out there.
Many arguments that have wide appeal do end up published as books. no disagreement on your goal, but is it something realistic for much academic work?
Why are century-old obsolete technical limitations taking priority over clear and effective communication?
Also, I am diabetic. Pretty much everything in pop science says to eat complex carbs, and avoid fats and simple sugars. There are a number of papers that talk about the benefits of a low carb and high fat diet, but they're behind a paywall.
So it's more than just a small specialist community that consumes scientific literature.
Diabetic "pop science" says plenty about low-carb high-fat diets, the most famous of which may be Gary Taubes's New York Times article from 2002.