Would like to see Demis Hassabis and David Silver join the effort.
If Deepmind, OpenAI and Berkeley (well represented here) all boycott, that's a huge chunk of key AI researchers.
Strategy: publish in the high-impact established Nature-family journal, but publicly boycott the no-impact new Nature-family journal. Win-win.
edit: added -family suffix to clarify that I completely understand these are two different journals from the same publisher.
edit 2: I now understand why the editor of the new journal was hitting senior people up for personal meetings at ICRA last week. He didn't want to hear about our work: he wanted hints to help him on positioning.
one doesn't hinder research, the other does
Standard practice in the modern AI community is preprint to arXiv first, then out to a journal for review. All the papers are free online before they even go to Nature. So this policy does not stifle or hinder research.
They also do not take copyright - it stays with the authors - unlike other giants such as IEEE.
To my mind the legitimate argument is about publishers taking undeserved profits from unpaid labour while adding little value.
(edit: reordered sentences)
That argument also comes down to hindering research. Funds that could otherwise be used for research are now used to buy subscriptions to this journal.
The journal business model usually requires restricting access to the research, while the conference business model still works when the research is free.
It's also interesting to hear other people's talks that serve as a "teaser" for what's in the paper.
It is not possible to publish something without setting moveable type made of lead. it would be different if there were an Internet or something but that's way in the future.
To give you a sense of the state of our industry, here is an example of an innovation just four years ago and its effect:
>1814 – First cylinder presses
>Friedrich Gottlob Koenig and Andreas Friedrich Bauer build their first cylinder press, which is much faster than the existing flatbed presses. One of the first customers is John Walter of The Times. The first issue of The Times that is printed with the new presses is published in 1814. The press is installed in secret to avoid sabotage by disgruntled pressmen operating the existing Stanhope presses. The machine is capable of printing over 1100 double-sided sheets per hour. In 1817 Koenig & Bauer return to Germany and start building presses in an abandoned monastery in Würzburg.
You can click that link for some pictures. This press needs to be paid for, as well as having ongoing operational costs that include a lot of meticulous manual labor (mentioned above) to set each and every page.
Here is another link which I rewrite to the present:
>There are many reasons to celebrate the advent of the steam press in 1814, as well as reasons to worry about it. Steam printing brings the cost of printing down, increases the number of possible impressions per day by four times, and, in a way, we might say that it helps “democratize” access to information. The Times proclaims that the introduction of steam is the “greatest improvement” to printing since its very invention. Further down that page, which itself is “taken off last night by a mechanical apparatus,” we read why the hand press printers might be concerned: “after the letters are placed by the compositors… little more remains for man to do, than to attend upon, and watch this unconscious agent in its operations.”
As you can see it talks about "the democratization" of information. Still, my point is that the fixed costs of this publishing model are still high, and that it makes a lot of sense to operate on this publishing model for this reason alone. After reviewing my links and the technology in question, I hope you can readily agree! In 1818 typesetting and printing is an expensive, hardware-based, industrial business. It makes sense to have a publishing house behind it.
Is there any part of what I've just written that you disagree with?
I’m not sure I totally agree with the parallels, which is probably where some of the initial confusion arose from. The printing press significantly reduced the costs of publication, allowing unprecedented access to the written word beyond the aristocracy. I don’t think anyone disagrees that Nature provides a valuable service and that it “makes sense to have a publishing house behind” peer reviewed literature. Rather, when the cost to produce peer-reviewed content can be taken on by tax-subsidized content production professionals, and demonstrably WITHOUT an older journal that extracts exorbitant fees without producing significant value beyond its brand-name, it makes sense to challenge the value of the brand.
Ooh, ooh! raises hand and waves franticly
Nature does jack shit that couldn't be (and in many cases isn't) done as well or better by the authors' personal or institutional websites.
What they "provide" is a brand name for wasteful status signalling, the same as Goochi purses or sportsball teams.
I work for a rather minor corporate entity anyway, does it mean that I am always off the hook? /s
Just because their parent company might not be morally in the clear, that doesn't mean that moral criticisms by its employees is automatically or even more likely to be invalid.
got some references as to why they are big hitters for the uninformed such as myself?
Yann LeCun is head of AI at Facebook and kinda knows as the father of convolutional networks.
There's a bunch of other ones from other big companies or big ivy league universities.
The entrenchment is due to perceived (and cultivated) prestige, less so about tangible benefits. Prestigious journals have good brand value, they spend money cultivating it and they extract earnings from it.
Researchers and administrators trade on journal brand value for career advancements. They benefit from a highly prestige-stratified journal catalog as a tool for differentiating themselves from their peers, it's much easier to justify a promotion based on 'X publications to prestigious journal A, B, C' than 'bunch of people in the community think this is a great result', especially to a non-expert.
In all seriousness, I have always thought that Blockchain could pose a good solution for the issue of peer-reviewing scientific papers. It provides a descentralized infrastructure with "tokens" that can be transferred to provide "prestige" to papers and authors.
However, I would like to easily see a non-political db where you can easily track the paper graph to figure out which papers are based on discredited research and/or researchers taking money from special interest groups.
* or if not "free", a very small marginal cost, in terms of say data aggregation and programming effort
which is all to say, like so many of the things people want to use a block chain for, the hard part is the politics and the real-world nuance, not the immutable ledger. the immutable ledger is not trivial. but compared to the other stuff, it's not all that hard (and is certainly more solved, at this point).
I hope this publication gets an implementation soon.
Similar issues occur for review articles, which are about analyzing data already present rather than analyzing new data. Moreover, this would also hurt actual replications. It kind of seems like being the last to replicate something would be without compensation.
This is why you can't get too angry at the scientists who continue to publish in it. If you kill yourself to figure something out worthy of a tiny Nobel prize, are you really not going to claim it? It's not like claiming that tiny Nobel prize is gonna hurt the dissemination of your work. The higher profile of your work will easily compensate for the fact people have to jump through a hoop to read it.
This is why I love sci-hub. It just destroys the hoop. It doesn't need to figure out how to replace the brand, history and exclusivity of publications like Nature. Along with government-mandated open source laws, it's one of the only realistic ways to actually disrupt this industry.
Since sci-hub, the library has been able to drop a bunch of journals and for some mysterious reason none of the academics seem to give as much of a shit anymore. Obviously, no-one has no idea why..
And I'm afraid that, even though a lot is changing, the disproportionate monetising isn't yet done for.
It's generally not considered conflict of interest, as the boards transcend single institutions and their members tend to be individuals in the stage of career where their individual reputations that matter more than the reputation of the institution they "represent".
The hard part in this is remaining silent and pretending you don’t know anything about this, when you meet your peers at conferences.
Even if all these clues could be effectively removed, the nature of the research work, tools used, writing style, all unambiguously indicate authorship to someone in the field. I think for this reason double-blind review is not popular.
Which is not to say that it would be great if it were possible...
See the "anonymity" section.
The problem is that changing an existing culture that is deep in everything how this system works is difficult. This goes way beyond the mere question of publication, it's still pretty common to hire people based on high impact factor journal publications etc.
You're faced with a system that's controlled by the people who made their career in this system. They're not the most qualified to improve the failures of that system. Changing it is possible, but it's hard and it's a slow process.
(That said, it's definitely not like nothing has changed! There's a lot changing at the moment, and it's not quite sure what the system is going to look like. Traditional publishers aren't looking too bad yet, though.)
Don't get me wrong, I think the current publishing model is archiac, exploitative, and needs to change, but this whole "taxpayer funded research should be freely available argument" seems to me to oversimplify the issue and ignore the facts.
The NIH site links right to PubMed Central from which it seems like it'd be 'easy' to find a paper for which I know the title. None of the pages on the NSF site ever seemed to be intended for someone that's not contributing to the 'public access repository'.
Would you demonstrate your claim and provide a link, for an article published in Nature, to the same freely available version that "must be made"?
It seems pretty fantastic that libraries would spend taxpayer money for access to journals containing papers that are already freely available. I'm very confused why that would be.
I had this issue, too, but there is a simple search engine at this URL: https://par.nsf.gov
Click the first research article they show. It has various public funding sources:
"The collection of the ELC and genetic data for the American samples was supported by direct funding from the Intramural Research Program of the NIMH to the Clinical Brain Disorders Branch (D.R.W., PI, protocol 95-M-0150, NCT00001486, annual report number: ZIA MH002942-05), with supplemental analytic support from the Clinical and Translational Neuroscience Branch (K.F.B., PI). G.U. received partial support from P50MH094268."
Check that other site:
I'm not sure about the NSF, however: this is what is happening in some disciplines. ArXiv is the default method of sharing research in some fields, and also the default method of actually reading and reviewing those articles, yet people still submit their research to the traditional publishers, and people still either pay publishing or subscription charges to those publishers.
That's because the service those publishers provide is not the publishing or making accessible of research, but the academic credentials one needs to advance their academic career. That's the "unspecified reason", and it's an incredible waste of money.
But you didn't explain, relative to how I interpreted the comment to which I initially replied, why, e.g. libraries, are paying so much money to access journals. If the default method for reading those articles is ArXiv, what's the point of paying a subscription to the other journals? My model of academia isn't that it's that dysfunctional. I'd expect enough internal pressure to re-allocate those funds if ('read') access was really unnecessary.
Of course, "need" is already a vague term - preferably, all publicly funded research would be available in the first place, but that's not the world we currently live in.
Unfortunately, that's both the reason why adding a subscription journal instead of an Open Access one is bad, as well as why a boycott doesn't affect much change other than that resulting of its publicity. On the scale of those big deals, saying "we don't need that specific ML journal since interesting research hardly gets submitted there" doesn't drive the collective price down that much.
(In fact, I'd wager that those prices are mostly driven by how far librarians managed to stretch their budgets, rather than by the value provided by the specific included journals or the cost spent producing them.)
> in most cases I know of (NSF and NIH funded research) US taxpayer funded research must be made freely available
Besides that, you'd be surprised that people and organizations spend money on things they don't actually need to? In my experience that happens constantly in both business and government.
And it's pretty aggravating for you to quote the comment to which I directly replied. It's not even that long!
I was surprised by the implied claim, or what I thought was being implied, because I'd suspect "US taxpayer funded research" would include almost all research done in the U.S. and yet I'm pretty sure that in fact lots of people struggle to find freely available papers and articles and that lots of academic organizations pay lots of money for journal access. The parent seemed to imply that 'everything' really was freely available.
That papers will eventually (and mostly) be freely available is good and I am surprised that that seems to be the case. Thanks for sharing this info!
But an embargo or delay in publishing to the free access sites is probably sufficient for the existing closed-access journals to maintain their value. I can't imagine researchers, and thus universities, forgoing access to current research.
As long as they put the code on github or a blog or whatever then who really cares? Do people really get that much out of these academic style papers in this field? They are more like a press release.
Or are you saying this embargo also actively prevents them from sharing stuff beyond the document, like the code?
Ideally, of course, we'd never have to simplify, but that's life.
Furthermore, many people just put pre-prints on arxiv etc. and don't update after peer review. Peer review is painful at best and quite flawed but the median paper is actually better after it, and many papers rightly don't make it through. Having open-access curated journals makes a lot of this better.
I am not involved in this stuff, just read quite some posts on StackExchange Academia.
Even if you got a DMCA, couldn't you just direct link to a scihub search result that contains your paper?
Edit: I love it when I find my work on scihub. It means it was good enough to 'steal'.
(even Nature is OK for all the pre-prints, arxiv and your own website).
Not just in science. The equivalent in startups might be a famous VC or whatever. It’s about attaching yourself to a brand.
Journals thrive on reputation and nobody can individually dissent because they lose out. This is the same mechanism that keeps overpriced tuition fees at ivy league colleges afloat.
The answer is to collectively get out by legislating the practice or offering a free public alternative that everybody can immediately jump too. Given that the efforts become more and more organised, (German wholesale boycott of Elsevier) this might be happening sooner than later.
The same happens with social networks. You could offer the freest, most privacy respecting network of all, as long as individuals get punished for leaving the old one individually it'll never take over a significant amount of market share, even if everyone on the old network agrees that the newer one is better.
1. The governmemt could require you to publish all your research in an open way, if it ever funded anything to do with your research. No open access, no government money.
2. Universities could band together and do something about it.
This could happen both on the demand side, AND on the supply sude. For example, they could either collectively refuse to pay for journals, OR collectively refuse to hire professors who don't publish open access.
Want to get Tenure? Well you are forced to publish open access. Don't like it? Then go find a different University to work for. But that might be difficult if those OTHER universies collude against you with the same rules.
The value of a prestige journal brand is that it is (supposedly) selective in which papers it publishes; not that it costs a lot of money for people to read those papers.
- Peer review is basically "free", meaning it's done by volunteers without compensation.
- Hosting cost is magnitudes lower than publication/reading fees. A few dollars per paper should be enough by far.
- Organisation of peer reviewing, editing and so on imposes some costs, but a lot of it could be automated and the remaining cost per published paper should still be quite low.
So, would it be technically possible to create such journals? Of course, prestige might be a hurdle, but given some high-profile researchers would join as editors initially, that could work out.
But it's still not high enough to justify journal subscription prices.
I don't know if typical open access journal fees are lower margin or not.
A paper isn't good because it's in Nature - it's in Nature because it's good.
"setting it to download academic journal articles systematically from JSTOR using a guest user account issued to him by MIT"
INFORMATION IS FREE:
"Federal prosecutors later charged him with two counts of wire fraud and eleven violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, carrying a cumulative maximum penalty of $1 million in fines, 35 years in prison, asset forfeiture, restitution, and supervised release."
That is, the primary value-add of the traditional paper publishing model is trust in the editorial staff and peer-reviewers. Anybody can throw up a repo on github - not everyone can get that repo published in Nature. Journals provide a curated list of exciting, valuable, and reliable research.
In general, though, for-profit publishing will hopefully go away soon. As an engineer I need quality scientific publications without the distorted politics behind it. I could come up with any number of ways to improve on the current situation.
TL;DR This isn't that surprising. The cost of publishing is lower than ever and researchers are tired of getting charged for what they give away for free.
Rather than "has become" this is publishers using their leverage to achieve this situation.
Besides, if you look at the money, fancy journals are responsible for a lot of funding that ends up in the coffers of researchers or the institutions that support them, so it really wouldn't be crazy. I read somewhere that a Science/Nature paper in some fields is thought to be worth >$1mm in funding.
It seems less profitable than the closed-access regime, since copyright is an economically powerful tool.
I guess there's less of a notion of the accumulation of valuable property in the pay to publish regime.
But seriously, just call the subscriptions "membership fees." Revenue would probably dip 5% from non-publisher subscriptions and things would stabilize.
It would also neutralize the threat of open access journals gaining more ground.
Designing your code and data so it's truly reproducible is a ton of work, and most researchers are focused on the paper.
Is there a open, free, peer-reviewed/crowd-reviewed journal paper website for artificial intelligence ?
I've got a paper in review with one of the journals right now, but several of my colleagues have expressed caution with open peer review. I think a lot of scientists are worried about making work public that hasn't been privately vetted during peer review, and maybe being caught with an embarrassing mistake.
edit: To make it clear, I'm talking about submitting to BOTH Arxiv, where it's freely available, AND a paywalled journal like Nature.
edit 2: I get that we don't want to waste, often government, money on mere distribution of research, but I also think researchers need a way to distinguish their work from the thousands of arxiv papers that get posted every year. Whether that's through a Nature publication or something else is immaterial.
Yes, you can bypass all of this and put your non-reviewed pdfs on your personal website. No one will care, in part because no one will even know and if they do, they have to do the hard work of review in order to decide whether a paper is worth trusting. But how will anyone find out?
As an author, I've made a point never to publish in a paper not backed by a non-profit scientific society with a decent open-access policy, after doing so in the past. I also put all of my pdfs on my website including appropriate white papers that are working drafts, making it clear to others that they haven't been accepted through peer review.
As a reader, however, I keep up with the literature (aside from targeted Google Scholar searches) through Table of Contents emails from a few journals--mostly non-profit society journals but a few others including Nature. The editorial curation aspects which limit the number of accepted papers per issue make this possible. I'm not going to drink from the firehose of shit that is produced each month, especially before peer-review. Yeah, it sucks when your paper is accepted by reviewers but gets nixed by the editors because it's not cool enough, but... you know, get back to the bench and make it cooler if you want people to care. Welcome to the 21st century and attention scarcity.
You can change the name 'Nature' to whatever open-access journal you'd like, but the power behind it is that it's a sign that Important People have decided your paper is one of the 10 most impactful papers in your field that year. That's why people care.
Nature is just a bunch of noted academics that come together and do peer-review (for free btw)... is that enough value creation to charge exorbitant amounts to universities and block content to the public that is funded by government grants?
If academics could build a peer-review board themselves (hint: now they can... thanks internet!) ... then everyone would have free access to science.
Universities in less rich countries would be on a more level playing field, if these massive subscriptions were not table stakes.
Journals do provide some value. Editing, printing, and herding academics through the camera-ready process all require non-trivial effort.
I would have absolutely no problem with a handful of universities/non-profits/even for-profits devoting some staff to the curation/archival process. And also no problem with those organizations charging others modest fees to fund that work.
The problem with journals is that they capture a lot more value than they provide, that value is not distributed back to the people doing the actual work, and the prestige signal/branding provides a strong moat.
I REALLY think this is an important point. If we continue to behave like all of this stuff is trivial and obvious to replicate, then we'll be forever stuck with predatory journals like Nature.
I’m also more sceptic that the flagship journals actually have declined, at least in part I suspect the critsism is just complains in the spirit of those about ”the youth of today”.
One problem is that because they publish the most eye opening studies, they are inherently biasing the results they publish to extreme findings that are anomalous or don't represent reality. If 20 scientists are all conducting similar experiments, a typical experiment design would expect 1 of them to find a statistically significant result when there is none. But due to the way journals review and accept research, often the extreme result will be the one published. In fact, surveys have shown that many of those with the null result won't even bother submitting their findings because they likely won't be accepted. So published research is being biased towards false positive results, which is part of why reproducibility in science is in crisis these days.
So while there is certainly bad science being filtered out by journals today, there is actual important "boring" findings that are solid science that are being filtered out as well, and that is damaging science on the whole.
Is this really the case? In my own field, it is quite common for us to publish only slight increments of existing knowledge, or we simply debunk an earlier paper. I have also done some work in scientific editing for scholars in other fields, and from what I’ve seen, it seems that they, too, publish similar minor work, even literature reviews where the author does not make any original claims but only summarizes what is out there, and these do get accepted and published.
I can definitely imagine that a few über-high-profile journals like Nature might want the flashiest claims and discoveries, but there is a whole world of publishing out there.
But it's not really immaterial, is it? It's a ridiculously expensive way to sift through research, as there is hardly any downwards price pressure at all.
I think the responders (so far) are missing the crucial point that you suggest publishing in both arxiv and the journal of choice.
So the journal of choice, behind a paywall, gives you the prestige and tenure.
Meanwhile, arxiv hands the information over to other academics.
Yes, and I'm a descendand of Julius Caesar, Confucius and Charlemagne. I won't
tell you this when introducing myself though, because so is everybody else.
It wouldn't have occured to me that AI researchers have such inferiority complexes that they need to descend to such name-dropping, but I guess I was wrong.
However, he was an aristocrat, and a soldier, in a time when birth control was rarely practiced. I imagine he's got plenty of his DNA in the modern pool.
But ML already has conferences and journals where work is peer reviewed and published in an open access manner.
So it's not that academics see journals/conferences as value-less, but that they are already doing all this work for free, why do it for free for Springer who will then charge everyone?
I don't know what the long term solution is but I have a feeling it won't involve companies that charge a lot of money for a service (publishing) that has been effectively free since the Internet has existed.
Also in terms of replicability ML is in a unique position where a lot of research is on standard datasets with models that don't take an excessive amount of compute power to train. This means that if the authors include a github link to their code you can fully replicate their results. So some "peer reviewed" ML papers can actually subscribe to your first description of peer reviewed.
Not to say the research is worthless, just that straight replicability is not necessarily enough.
The greatest value of journals is when hundreds or thousands (or, hell, dozens) of other people, well informed and competent in the subject matter, read the papers and consider how it meshes with their own experience and understanding and build upon it, writing letters to the journal pointing out problems and articles which follow up on the original work.
That is how an idea is validated. An article published in a journal that no one reads isn't much different than an unpublished article, and if work is spread, responded to, and built upon outside of journals, it isn't much different from a journal-published article.
I love learning but stayed away from college because I couldn't stand how fundamentally at odds traditional education routes are to creativity and free thinking.
Personally, I find Twitter and arxiv-sanity good sources for keeping up with ML. They have their own mechanism of surfacing popular content and filtering based on preferences.
Can't we have some kind of PageRank system, not necessarily based only on citations, to solve that?
The value-add from journals is that they (at least theoretically) guarantee another person has read the paper carefully and believes it is correct.