Something like this may have been inevitable in particle physics: with essentially all articles appearing freely on arXiv.org, the journals have already been starting to look less necessary. That reality may have made them more willing to agree to something like this. It will be interesting to see, ten years from now, whether this model continues to be viable or whether the field will have adopted some entirely different mechanism for peer review.
It appears that the articles will be published under CC-BY licenses. The definition of the affected articles is quite broad, too: "SCOAP^3 Articles are defined as either all articles appearing in journals mostly carrying High-Energy Physics content, or articles appearing in “broad band” journals which have been submitted by researchers to arXiv.org under the corresponding categories."
The close integration with arXiv.org is pretty much essential for this to work, but I was still a bit surprised to see that arXiv categories are used as the defining feature of "particle physics content". (For those in the know, those categories are hep-ex, hep-th, hep-ph, and hep-lat.)
By the way, being able to publish is especially necessary to receive public funding in the first place.
Being published in Nature gives you bonus points when it comes to funding. Which I don't quite understand, cause Nature is like the last journal where I'd look for newest information on my subject.
- report original scientific research (the main results and conclusions must not have been published or submitted elsewhere)
- are of outstanding scientific importance
- reach a conclusion of interest to an interdisciplinary readership.
The "principle that we should maintain our revenue"? I like that principle. Which box do I check to have that apply to me as well?
I don't understand why SCOAP3 isn't driving a harder bargain. They are anticipating a $10MM budget --- wouldn't this be enough to hire some good editors and publish online?
If the whole field is behind this, worries about "impact factor" should disappear. Or is the problem that salary/tenure/promotion is tied to an outside assessment of "impact"?
-- Penn State has a "middle of the road" law school
It is unfortunate that university libraries will be continuing to send money to publishers who add almost no value to the scientific process.
arXiv.org really makes downloading papers a breeze. If only it were so easy in other discliplines. It's a lot easier than downloading articles from, say, ScienceDirect. The latter is, despite its name, a lot less "direct" than former. Just count the HTTP redirects and the number of domain names looked up. And many journals seem to have their own idiosyncracies vis-a-vis downloading. arXiv is by comparison beautifully simple and reliable. It has a nice consistency about it.
Contrary to what some readers have said in e-mails to me, or inferred from what I’ve written, I’m actually not at all opposed to peer review or peer-reviewed publications. But the important thing these days isn’t a medium for publishing—pretty much anyone with an Internet connection can get that for free—but the imprimatur of peer-review, which says, “This guy [or gal] knows what he’s talking about.” A more intellectually honest way to go about peer-review would be to have every academic have a blog / website. When he or she has an article ready to go, he should post it, send a link to an editor, and ask the editor to kick it out to a peer-reviewer. Their comments, whether anonymous or not, should be appended to the article. If it’s accepted, it gets a link and perhaps the full-text copied and put in the “journal’s” main page. If it doesn’t, readers can judge its merits or lack thereof for themselves.
The sciences arguably already have this, because important papers appear on arXiv.org before they’re officially “published.” But papers in the sciences appear to be less status-based and more content-based than papers in the humanities.
I think this change will happen in the humanities, very slowly, over time; it won’t be fast because there’s no reason for it to be fast, and the profession’s gatekeepers are entrenched and have zero incentive to change. If anything, they have a strong incentive to maintain the system, because doing that raises their own status and increases their own power within the profession.
Given how cheaply one can find or buy a website / blog these days, I'm not sure where all this money is going.
"82 PhD scientists have reviewed this paper, including 3 people in your close network and 2 more people from your extended network." ...or something like that.
You could do a network-graph search. Start with some professors that you trust, and some keywords that you're interested in and start walking the graph from there.
I don't know what the profit motive would be for someone to build this though. Nor the motive for individual reviewers to carefully review someone's paper and provide detailed useful feedback...
I'm certainly happy to see this consortium has moved in the right direction, but could it be even more open?
Moving away from journals seems to be largerly an issue of missing consensus and inertia. Also, where you publish is important for hiring committees, existing journals have a lot of credibility, newly sprung up ones not so much.
This is a great observation.
We'll have to wait and see whether this model turns out to be the first step in a gradual transition or a stopgap solution until a radically different approach to peer review becomes accepted. I for one am excited to find out.