- Academics (most often publicly funded via grants and university salaries) do the work for free.
- They are expected to learn to use LaTeX and to typeset their work for free.
- They are expected to copy-edit the papers for free, or else pay a copy editor themselves with, you guessed it, public funds.
- Volunteer Academics (on university time and therefore, again, public money) are expected to review the work for technical accuracy and novelty. If done well this is extremely time consuming.
- Finally, the Journals have the temerity to charge the same universities who produce their product millions of pounds a year in journal subscriptions and Open Access fees.
- Finally finally, none of the Authors are ever paid for their work. Not that it matters, because again: public funding should mean public access.
The most frustrating part is that Academics themselves are locked into this system by the career prospects conferred by prestigious journals/conferences.
I’m not normally one for beating the “nationalise them” drum, but if there has ever been a case for businesses to be dismantled and put in public hands it’s these parasites.
Sincerely, a Scientist :-)
i don't know if "society" would exactly be better off if 100 film studios were all competing to make the best avengers movie, but it would certainly be good for creativity.
That's a serious argumentative leap to make. Do you really think that's the best solution for this case, or do you maybe have a pre-existing position on this issue which you believe this instance supports? The easiest option is likely to pass a law that publicly-funded research is publicly accessible.
> automatic compensation system
Could you detail this a little further? I'm not sure exactly for what you are advocating.
edit:- arXiv works as well :)
The most ironic part of the current system was once having to use sci-hub to download my own paper, as we didn’t have a subscription to the specific journal...
All the issues you raise are only slightly problematic. If scientists need to typeset their own research papers or volunteer for peer review are minor compared to the real problem that people can't read tax payer funded research.
> - Finally, the Journals have the temerity to charge the same universities who produce their product millions of pounds a year in journal subscriptions and Open Access fees.
Yes, this is about universities. But the same paywalls affect regular people as well.
It is absolutely rediculus that publishing a paper costs more than I earn a month as a scientist.
This means the public is paying the academic to do the work, they're not doing it for free. Grants do come with the expectation of results.
> - Finally finally, none of the Authors are ever paid for their work.
> The most frustrating part is that Academics themselves are locked into this system by the career prospects conferred by prestigious journals/conferences.
Just to be clear this doesn't mean scientists are unpaid, it means they're being paid in career prospects. (Edit: they're also paid in their salaries which include the expectation of work.) (And part of the journals' service is helping academia determine who the best scientists are. That's an important service if done correctly and deserves payment just like any other work.)
As with many scientific problems a good problem statement can make all the difference. It sounds like what you want is a different form of payment?
It's unclear how much of your problem with the academic system stems from its already nationalized aspects, how much comes from its non-nationalized aspects, and how much comes from it being partially nationalized. Until you can answer that question you might hold off on the "more nationalization" drum.
> part of the journals' service is helping academia determine who the best scientists are
Could you elaborate? If you're referring to the revered and important process of peer review, isn't that explicitly and exclusively performed by other scientists, paid mostly in public funding?
The idea is that a good publishing record gives one better career prospects. By accepting and rejecting papers journals are giving a signal used by academia in their hiring and promotion decisions.
If you're an administrator overseeing a scientific department your skills are probably in administration, not chemistry or physics or what have you. What you would really like is for a team of top chemists to tell you who the best chemists among your staff or hiring prospects are. That level of consulting would be cost prohibitive but the journals are providing a similar service that is apparently being exchanged for exclusive publishing rights.
These prerint-servers are great for publishing your papers as-is, without peer review. But scientfic standards also require people to let other independent researchers do a peer-review where they criticise your paper and then ask for further experiments/analyses/elaborations/corrections to strengthen the point you want to make with your paper. Traditional journals are usually pretty good at fetching people to do the (gratis) peer review for them. As far as I know something like this does not exist for papers on preprint servers. But at least you can leave comments under the preprints and thereby offer criticism or ask questions.
I'm not sure how familiar you are with open source software, but this is literally what happens with code review and pull requests in open source. Before code is accepted into the master branch, project maintainers review and test submissions. I don't see why a community couldn't be built that democratizes that review process even further. At risk of ridicule, I wonder if blockchain could be used to determine consensus "accepted" science.
(I'm obviously biased to that approach, as someone being professionally involved in the open source ecosystem for the last 10+ years.)
> "For example, most of PLoS ONE’s editors are working scientists, and the journal does not perform functions such as copy-editing."
But, in fact, in my personal experience, the for-profit journals don't really do copy-editing anyway, but in fact introduce new errors into the paper which then the author has to pain-stakingly track down (or not).
The reference formatting thing is just one of the ways they make it obnoxious for authors (it would be better for authors if you could just send them a list of DOIs and their computers should make it look the way journal style dictates — ELife does this). Idiosyncratic rules about the naming of sections or formatting of methods or supplementary material make transferring article between journals (even at the same publisher) unnecessarily tedious.
From the audience perspective, nobody wants to vault over the paywall to click on the link to click on the link to get the pdf that displays in a pane of the browser window. Nobody wants an enhanced pdf, whatever that is. I don’t want to see a pop up with the articles you think I should read next because they happen to share a single word in the title. I just want to click a link in pubmed or google scholar and go direct to the pdf. A few months back someone posted an enhanced google scholar that just linked directly to the PDFs from sci-hub. The user experience was so good that it really highlighted how obnoxiously bad publisher sites are.
(Thank you, by the way.)
The author also did a AMA/FAQ style post on their website about the background of Scihub: https://engineuring.wordpress.com/2019/03/31/sci-hub-and-ale...
there is also ENS for holding distributed domain names using Ethereum (yes, same concept as Namecoin)
of course both of these solution require non-standard software that many people don't have yet
(Tip: /go automatically redirects you.)
for those interested in old prints there is also http://bitsavers.trailing-edge.com/ and http://bitsavers.trailing-edge.com/pdf/ which i highly recommend.
Personally Sci-Hub was invaluable when doing some exploratory research on Free Space Optics.
And they’re here only because copyright royalties are undertaxed here in NL to “help the creative industry”.... bloody perverse newspeak
1) Being a good filter, increasing S:N, so you don't have to waste time sieving bullshit yourself
2) Choosing pretty fonts, promoting good stylistic standards and guidelines (which scientists, unfortunately, usually tend not to do great on if left to their devices)
It is I think an acceptable argument that charging an exorbitant price for articles is a bit of a scam, but I don't think it's fair to say that they should earn 0, or that the value they create is of 0 price. Consider that each of Science, Nature, Cell employ a couple hundred employees. If you want a good sieve, you've gotta hire talented editors, if you want articles that are easy to read and easy to understand, you've gotta hire talented graphics artists. Suddenly, this doesn't seem so easy and cheap.
As far as design whether typography or graphic goes Sociological Science charges somewhere around $2,000 per article to authors and it looks just fine.
(I have no knowledge about whether this claim is accurate.)
the authors of this study detail at least potential reason for the tendency of high-impact (i.e. widely cited) journals and studies to have lower reproducibility rates: major journals tend to prefer publishing "innovative" studies w/ results that have the potential to push the envelope and advance the state of the art. as a result of this position on the extreme cutting edge, though, those kinds of studies are less likely to have really solid results. at the same time, though, they're more likely to inspire attempts to respond to them in one way or another -- leading to more citations.
they note that this emphasis by high-profile journals results in a disincentive to put in the time to do the less glamorous work of reproducing other teams' studies, which is a potentially major issue for the trajectory of science as a whole.
Science and Nature ... like publishing groundbreaking research, research with surprising outcomes, etc. These categories of findings are more likely a priori to be false, so it's not surprising even with a positive story they are less likely to replicate than a perfectly pedestrian study with an unsurprising finding.
Same with publishing templates. The science community itself provides the style guides and style templates. The publishers provide printing presses. That’s it.
The scientific community can decide to abandon the publishers, and start competing journals, which will automatically transfer the heft away from the original and to the upstart, because it is the community that provides the value.
This may sound idealistic, but this has already happened. The linguistics community abandoned Elsevier’s Lingua and replaced it overnight with Glossa. The linguistic community’s success, then inspired the mathematics community to abandon Springer’s Journal of Algebraic Combinatorics and replace it with Algebraic Combinatorics.
This path is traveled. The pattern established. In 2019 it’s just much easier to start a publication since you need very little economic capital.
(Disclosure: I'm part of a project that aims to facilitate that.)
These papers are self edited and peer reviewed in public. I don't see much difference from when CS papers where in journals
(Though full disclosure: I'm part of a project that aims to help identify the best preprints, so it's somewhat my thing.)
I m sorry their standards can be crazy nitpicky and huge time wasters. Some uniformity is desireable, but their guidelines span tens of pages.
He refused their plea bargain and committed suicide not too long after.
I hope the situation here is different enough that she will have a better time than he did.
Cannot stand it.
After Knuth and Lamport get it in physics for TeX/LaTeX.
That's how copyright began in the first place! It was "The Statute of Anne": Restrictions on book printing due to lobbying by the printers.
Even if it was the printers, they weren't copyright holders at the time because there was no such thing as copyright before the law was passed.
That aside, it would be the authors that were there copyright holders, not the printers. Copyright has always been about middle-men trying to control the flow of information.
If it has benefitted content creators, it has done so only incidentally--because censorship laws are hard to stomach without a little sweetener.
The downside is there is usually a fee to some publications to make your article public.
Also having submitted data to pubchem (https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/), its kinda automated, but there are some very professional/helpful staff there that will help you.
Thanks god more people are using arxiv.
Can't we outsource that to a service so authors can work on more important stuff?
Unfortunately they tried turning it into a linkedin and stackoverflow for scientists and it seems like a bit of a mess.
(I prefer it to SciHub as you can search by keyword or author, or browse issues of journals etc, but I think the same papers are available–almost everything.)
Is there a way to do that?
Library Genesis has a discussion forum, and it seems like those search functions wouldn't be hard to add. So get involved!
There are those struggling to change this. The Open Access Movement has fought
valiantly to ensure that scientists do not sign their copyrights away but instead ensure
their work is published on the Internet, under terms that allow anyone to access it. But
even under the best scenarios, their work will only apply to things published in the future.
Everything up until now will have been lost.
That is too high a price to pay. Forcing academics to pay money to read the work of their
colleagues? Scanning entire libraries but only allowing the folks at Google to read them?
Providing scientific articles to those at elite universities in the First World, but not to
children in the Global South? It's outrageous and unacceptable.
"I agree," many say, "but what can we do? The companies hold the copyrights, they
make enormous amounts of money by charging for access, and it's perfectly legal —
there's nothing we can do to stop them." But there is something we can, something that's
already being done: we can fight back.
Those with access to these resources — students, librarians, scientists — you have been
given a privilege. You get to feed at this banquet of knowledge while the rest of the world
is locked out. But you need not — indeed, morally, you cannot — keep this privilege for
yourselves. You have a duty to share it with the world. And you have: trading passwords
with colleagues, filling download requests for friends.
Meanwhile, those who have been locked out are not standing idly by. You have been
sneaking through holes and climbing over fences, liberating the information locked up by
the publishers and sharing them with your friends.
But all of this action goes on in the dark, hidden underground. It's called stealing or
piracy, as if sharing a wealth of knowledge were the moral equivalent of plundering a
ship and murdering its crew. But sharing isn't immoral — it's a moral imperative. Only
those blinded by greed would refuse to let a friend make a copy.
Large corporations, of course, are blinded by greed. The laws under which they operate
require it — their shareholders would revolt at anything less. And the politicians they
have bought off back them, passing laws giving them the exclusive power to decide who
can make copies.
There is no justice in following unjust laws. It's time to come into the light and, in the
grand tradition of civil disobedience, declare our opposition to this private theft of public
We need to take information, wherever it is stored, make our copies and share them with
the world. We need to take stuff that's out of copyright and add it to the archive. We need
to buy secret databases and put them on the Web. We need to download scientific
journals and upload them to file sharing networks. We need to fight for Guerilla Open
With enough of us, around the world, we'll not just send a strong message opposing the
privatization of knowledge — we'll make it a thing of the past. Will you join us?
July 2008, Eremo, Italy
1. Is the entirety of sci-hub smeared across the edges of your network?
>Headlines reduced her to a female Aaron Swartz
Edit: maybe "the next Aaron Swartz" is slightly better
Also, if he'd been as protected from adversaries, he'd arguably still be alive.