Science Journal Won't Publish Papers Because Authors Want To Put Them On Wikipedia

from the mine,-all-mine! dept

Over the last few months, we've been hearing more and more stories concerning some of the ridiculous levels of control that academic journals exert over the copyrights on the various papers and research they publish. Since many of those journals are ridiculously expensive, much of this important research is basically locked up entirely. This is especially troublesome when it comes to publicly funded research, which you would think should be available to the taxpayers who paid for it. While we've definitely seen a trend towards more open rules to publishing, many journals are still behind the curve. Reader parsko writes in to alert us to the news of the American Physical Society, which withdrew the offer to publish two recent studies in the Physical Review Letters because the authors wanted to be able to publish parts of the study in Wikipedia. Since the APS requires you hand over the rights to the study, they wouldn't allow it, and turned down the papers because of it. Not surprisingly, various scientists are upset about this, pointing out that it seems totally contrary to the purpose of the journal to hide such information using copyright claims. The APS has now said that it will reconsider the policy at its next meeting, but the fact that it even got this far suggests how locked down many of these journals are.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Hellsvilla, Mar 19th, 2008 @ 6:48am

    They built their empire

    They built their empire on the foundation of exclusivity. Take away the exclusivity, and the empire will fall.

    Whether we like it or not, it's common sense for them to try and sustain that exclusivity.

    There is no adapting when it's your very foundation at stake. They will either succeed in maintaining their foundation, or they will fail.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    shaw, Mar 19th, 2008 @ 6:57am

    Irrelevant

    How shocking, "Antiquated publishing model looks foolish in the harsh light of the 21st century"

    It is rather amazing, the lengths that some organizations will go to in order to ensure they become irrelevant.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Andrew Kantor, Mar 19th, 2008 @ 7:00am

    From a former sci journal employee

    I used to work for the American Chemical Society in its journal publications department. I can say without a doubt that making money -- gobs of it -- is the primary focus of these journals. Anyone who suggests that 'furthering human understanding' is even a close second is woefully uninformed. These journals will fight tooth and nail against anything that threatens an incredibly lucrative business. Think about it -- their content is supplied free by scientists at universities, and then they sell journal subscriptions for thousands of dollars back to those same universities. So yes, the idea of any of "their" content ending up on Wikipedia scares the heck out of them. The last thing any scientific publisher -- except the Public Library of Science -- wants is for science to be free.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Srinivas, Mar 19th, 2008 @ 7:24am

    Scientific Feudalism

    I have to pay quite a bit to even get papers from IEEE ($35/month for 25 articles per month with a 6 month minimum is the best I could get). I cant afford other journals without sacrificing my lifestyle. It appears that science & tech is becoming very elitist by restricting access to a select few (to members of big bodies like a university or a R&D/D&D company -that is: those who have the cash).

    Isn't this a new kind of fiefdom? This culture is degrading the scientific community to new lows through "research" carried out by "experts" - because they can get away with it: Think of the tobacco scandals and everyday news where there is a newer and more ridiculous result published in the name of science. When I can't access their work, I can't question their methods. Inadvertently, we have established a scientific dogma that harms society more than it helps.

    It was great that Newton started the peer review system and we reached where we are now. But with profit being the major motive of these publishing houses we need a fix. The net provides an alternate media and I think its time someone took on the mantle to create an alternate and nearly free scientific publishing process accessible to everyone.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    jim t, Mar 19th, 2008 @ 7:42am

    Sadly, I usually agree with you

    It's not terribly expensive to gain access to journals (I have a subscription to j-stor and promedia for $68 every three monthgs, that handles most things I need), and I don't think the monetary motivator is behind this.

    The issue here is the very nature of expert knowledge. If I spend 3 years research and executing a rigorous scientific project and then I put it on wikipedia, it is immediately open to distortion by any number of people who do not have the training or knowledge to actually even comment on my research.
    This is not elitism, this is a fact - specialized knowledge exists and to attempt to completely eliminate it is as backwards as denying evolution.

    The peer review process is flawed, we all know that, but it also holds sacrosanct that research meets certain crucial standards, something wikipedia does not.

    Let's say I go and write a nice little paper I'm working on a beautiful little theory piece on specificity of place (I work in geography) and I publish it in an academic journal and in wikipedia.
    Along comes someone who strongly disagrees with my research and edits out two of my conclusions based on some criteria, a researcher or student then quotes me from wikipedia and lists the publication as the journal, because it was published there.

    Why lookie... I just found a big problem.

    I love wikipedia, but it's not the place for rigorous scientific research.
    Expert knowledge does exist and it has its place.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Markus, Mar 19th, 2008 @ 7:42am

    Peer reviewed journals

    Publishing work is no problem for any Scientist since the widely available resources on the internet however that is only half the point. Scientific work have very little merit unless it has been peer-reviewed. Peer reviewed papers take time and effort by the whole scientific community to complete. I can only imagine that it is an expensive process due to the dues we pay as scientists to join the various societies.

    To reach the higher echelon of scientific work it is not about publishing your work than to be able to get a paper into a peer-reviewed journal. Peer approval is more important than getting the work published. That means that several peers (scientists that are considered experts in the field; and with proper credentials) have been able to verify the quality of what is stated in the published scientific work. Without this "peer reviewed" stamp of approval you might as well publish your work anywhere. Which is the obvious other option...and which is not under dispute either. The internet is free to everyone to use.

    Again, ...to publish or not to publish... is... NOT the question. The question is if we want lots of seemingly scientific work published under the guise of proper scientific merit.

    So lets let all the scientific work that is not peer-reviewed continue to be posted on the internet...oh wait...that is what we are already doing.

    In the end...Much ado about nothing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Open Access, Mar 19th, 2008 @ 7:49am

    Re: Scientific Feudalism

    An alternate academic publishing model already exists. It's called open access and it's increasingly common in several fields of science. Of course, there are still many academic publishers resisting it, particularly those with journals of high impact factor.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    interval, Mar 19th, 2008 @ 7:55am

    Re: Sadly, I usually agree with you

    Sadly, your remaining objections are irrelevant. 1) Wikipedia has no lock on getting things wrong. There are plenty of stories about how badly some major publications and encyclopedias are not any better. 2) If you publish your research on Wikipedia and the paper contains empirical errors who got the research wrong, Wikipedia, or you? 3) If your research was funded by tax money why in the HELL is it even possible that some journal gets to copyright it? That should be completely and utterly NOT be possible.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Open Access, Mar 19th, 2008 @ 7:57am

    Re: Sadly, I usually agree with you

    You are completely missing the point. Nobody means for original research to be published on Wikipedia bypassing peer-review. What these authors wanted was to report some of their findings (which would go through the journal's peer review process) in Wikipedia as well, in the form of graphs or figures for a particular topic, for instance. However, Wikipedia won't allow pictures that are subject to copyright, which traditional journal demand to be transferred to them in order to publish.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Scott, Mar 19th, 2008 @ 7:58am

    A Brave New World

    If scientists would embrace the same concepts as the open source community, we would be light years ahead of where we are now in every field of science.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Scott Spinola, Mar 19th, 2008 @ 8:00am

    Refusal should be on credibility grounds

    Why would any self-respecting scientist want to post research reports on Wikipedia anyway? So a bunch of people who know nothing about it (myself included) can hack it up into an unidentifiable mess? Scientific papers should not be open to modification after publication. Peer review, public comment, and scientific scrutiny, absolutely, but not modification.

    If I were the journal, that is the reason I would give for denying the papers. Want to publish it on a free and public (but content-controlled) site dedicated to publishing research studies? Your argument might be convincing, especially if the study is publicly funded. Want to publish a respectable research study on an open wiki? No thanks. I'll exert my copyright control over it.

    Perhaps the journal should reconsider the policy of restricting publication of papers to their own journal. Mr. Masnick makes a compelling point with that argument. But no self-respecting scientific journal should publish papers that are also published on any web site where visitors can modify its contents.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Scott Spinola, Mar 19th, 2008 @ 8:08am

    Re: Re: Sadly, I usually agree with you

    interval:

    I believe it is you who missed Jim T's point. I don't believe Jim was suggesting that scientific journals never get anything wrong. I believe he is suggesting that in a published journal (or in my view any content controlled web site) we know WHO got it wrong and can address it that way. On Wikipedia, pretty much anyone can rewrite the conclusions of a paper to suit their own needs. That right way to refute scientific research is to write a new paper under new authorship, not modify someone else's original.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Open Access, Mar 19th, 2008 @ 8:09am

    Re: 3)

    Just thought I would clarify that a journal does NOT get the copyright to your research/findings, it just gets the copyright to the specific written work published. In principle, scientists could decide to rewrite the paper entirely in other words, remake any figures, and release it to the world in any way they see fit (subject to their own university's/sponsor's regulations, though, I guess) and publishers could not say anything about it. The problem is that most scientists don't have either the time or the willingness to reformat their entire work in order to bypass the journal's copyright on the article.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2008 @ 8:10am

    About research conducted with taxpayer money.

    I am working on under and FDA and DOE grant. While my work will be published in a peer reviewed journal, I will have also submitted progress reports (usually quarterly) which are available to all.

    Progress reports may not be pretty with a bow like a peer reviewed manuscript, but it certainly alleviates the issue of taxpayers money/compyright.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2008 @ 8:11am

    Re: A Brave New World

    You think? ...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    SRNissen, Mar 19th, 2008 @ 8:13am

    Re: Sadly, I usually agree with you

    That's not a reason to stop posting on Wikipedia - that's a reason to stop quoting wikipedia instead of the primary source.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Open Access, Mar 19th, 2008 @ 8:25am

    Re: Refusal should be on credibility grounds

    Scott, you are missing the point.
    The issue is not about publishing as such in Wikipedia. It's about the reuse of the work they've already done in order to make it available on free resources with specific licensing requirements.
    Example: An astronomer wants to put a picture of the exoplanet she discovered, the report of which she published in the hypothetical AJA (Antiquated Journal of Astronomy), on the Wikipedia. However, she can't, because for publishing her paper in the AJA, she had to agree to transfer the reproduction rights to all written work and figures to the publisher. So, either she goes and uses a different picture of the planet than the one she published (which she may or not have), she's screwed.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Scott Spinola, Mar 19th, 2008 @ 8:40am

    Re: Re: Refusal should be on credibility grounds

    I did not miss the point. In fact, I made that exact point:

    "Want to publish it on a free and public (but content-controlled) site dedicated to publishing research studies? Your argument might be convincing, especially if the study is publicly funded. Want to publish a respectable research study on an open wiki? No thanks. I'll exert my copyright control over it."

    and:

    "Perhaps the journal should reconsider the policy of restricting publication of papers to their own journal. Mr. Masnick makes a compelling point with that argument."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    jim t, Mar 19th, 2008 @ 9:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Sadly, I usually agree with you

    Bingo, but it's the internet, why use nuance?

    Scott makes some excellent points.

    Re: Open Access
    Graphs/figures are pretty easy to reformat and post around the copyright, if that's all this issue is than there is being a big stink raised about nothing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Mar 19th, 2008 @ 9:43am

    Re: Sadly, I usually agree with you


    The issue here is the very nature of expert knowledge. If I spend 3 years research and executing a rigorous scientific project and then I put it on wikipedia, it is immediately open to distortion by any number of people who do not have the training or knowledge to actually even comment on my research.


    I think that's a totally separate point. Knowledge is knowledge. Having it published in a journal shouldn't exclude it from also being mentioned in Wikipedia.

    I don't think anyone is worried about "distortion." Wikipedia is for publishing factual information.

    Besides, that's clearly not the issue here because it's the researchers themselves who want it published on Wikipedia. So they're clearly not worried about the distortion.

    The peer review process is flawed, we all know that, but it also holds sacrosanct that research meets certain crucial standards, something wikipedia does not.

    But this doesn't take away from the peer review process. No one is saying ditch the peer review process. They're saying after the study is peer reviewed for the journal they'd ALSO like to have it published on Wikipedia.

    Along comes someone who strongly disagrees with my research and edits out two of my conclusions based on some criteria, a researcher or student then quotes me from wikipedia and lists the publication as the journal, because it was published there.

    That's a different issue altogether, and having something published in a journal doesn't change that. In fact, things would be worse if the researchers themselves can't publish the actual findings. Now, instead, you have the totally untrained people posting THEIR OWN summaries of the findings FIRST, without the actual research.

    So, no, I think the problem is in the other direction.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Mar 19th, 2008 @ 9:44am

    Re: Refusal should be on credibility grounds

    Why would any self-respecting scientist want to post research reports on Wikipedia anyway? So a bunch of people who know nothing about it (myself included) can hack it up into an unidentifiable mess? Scientific papers should not be open to modification after publication. Peer review, public comment, and scientific scrutiny, absolutely, but not modification.

    Shouldn't that be up to them?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Mar 19th, 2008 @ 9:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Sadly, I usually agree with you

    Re: Open Access
    Graphs/figures are pretty easy to reformat and post around the copyright, if that's all this issue is than there is being a big stink raised about nothing.


    Heh. Not so. In a recent case I'm aware of, the journal claimed that any research based on the same dataset was covered by their copyright. If the professor in question wanted to publish somewhere else, she needed to create an entirely new experiment...

    It's not as easy as you might think.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Scott Spinola, Mar 19th, 2008 @ 9:53am

    Re: Re: Refusal should be on credibility grounds

    How does your question of they're being allowed to do it answer my question of why they would want to?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Scott Spinola, Mar 19th, 2008 @ 9:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Refusal should be on credibility groun

    sorry- incorrect possessive. Should read "their being allowed to"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    DanC, Mar 19th, 2008 @ 9:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Refusal should be on credibility groun

    How about something as mundane as wanting to share the knowledge?

    Wikipedia, like it or not, has a large following. Putting the research on the site would expose it to a larger audience than it would normally receive.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Mar 19th, 2008 @ 9:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Refusal should be on credibility groun

    How does your question of they're being allowed to do it answer my question of why they would want to?

    There are tons of reasons why they might want to do it. Getting more exposure for the ideas. Getting more exposure for themselves. Hoping others might build on their research and do something more with it. Access to more press. Get invited to more conferences. Get more grants. Etc. etc. etc.

    For you to simply declare that no reasonable scientist should want to do this is clearly wrong. There are plenty of motivations, and for a journal to stop those scientists from doing what they want to do with their own research seems wrong.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    mike allen, Mar 19th, 2008 @ 10:02am

    surely

    It is about the copyright if a scientist is stupid enough to give copyright to a third party that means that his work that he wrote cant be used, critiqued, or even part included in another paper by the same scientist in another publication. NOT GOOD FOR THE COMMUNITY OR THE SCIENTIST BUT GOOD FOR THE PUBLICATION.
    Time for a rethink.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Scott Spinola, Mar 19th, 2008 @ 10:04am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Refusal should be on credibility g

    My point is that Wikipedia allows editing of the content after publication, which is inappropriate for scientific papers. Sharing knowledge does not require opening a paper up to modification.

    Porn sites have large followings too, but would a self-respecting scientist want to publish a scholarly paper on one of those? Hardly.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Mar 19th, 2008 @ 10:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Refusal should be on credibili

    My point is that Wikipedia allows editing of the content after publication, which is inappropriate for scientific papers. Sharing knowledge does not require opening a paper up to modification.

    Isn't that up to the scientist?

    Porn sites have large followings too, but would a self-respecting scientist want to publish a scholarly paper on one of those? Hardly.

    Ah, equating wikipedia with porn sites. If you can't understand the difference then it's not worth having this conversation.

    The point has nothing to do with the fact that Wikipedia can be modified. The point is that the authors want to be able to repost their content and the journal will not let them. Your response is that the scientists shouldn't want to do that, but that's not even up for discussion. They DO want to do it, and why should the journal (or you) tell them they cannot?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    N.D.White, Mar 19th, 2008 @ 10:18am

    Wikipedia has accountability issues.

    I would like to point out that the last time "real science" tried to embrace the information age via wikipedia, they left in a huff.

    Wikipedia is hardly regarded as a serious or credible source, and there is little control on how or by whom content may be edited, so why would anyone publish serious or credible work there?

    As an IT journalist I've stumbled across a much more appropriate forum, if indeed research scientists are willing to consider publishing work in an open, free are online. It's called citizendium, and it's a fledgling spin-off from wikipedia where the key concepts are accountability, accuracy and collegiality. detail here

    http://techdirt.com/articles/20080318/074802570.shtml

    The main page is found here

    http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Main_Page

    I have no affiliation with the citizendium project, I'm merely hoping to encourage serious scientists who may not be aware of the project to at least go and take a look. It's potential value to the scientific community is not insubstantial.

    Regards
    N.D.White

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    N.D.White, Mar 19th, 2008 @ 10:21am

    Re: Wikipedia has accountability issues.

    I'm sorry, the first link to the project's fundamental aims should be teh following, not a link back to this article :blush:


    http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/CZ:Fundamentals

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    N.D.White, Mar 19th, 2008 @ 10:23am

    Re: Wikipedia has accountability issues.

    I'm sorry, the first link to the project's fundamental aims should be as follows, not a link back to this article :blush:


    http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/CZ:Fundamentals


    ps if a moderator could perhaps clean up my mess, that would be wonderful. Thankyou.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Scott Spinola, Mar 19th, 2008 @ 10:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Refusal should be on credibility g

    Looking at it another way, would you want to allow me to be able to edit your posts on this forum? Or is it more appropriate to require me to post my own responses as I've been doing?

    I agree that the dissemination of knowledge and visibility of scientific works are fine goals, and I already stated that I have no problem with allowing authors to publish their papers on content-controlled sites. My point is that Wikipedia allows the modification of works after publication, which is inappropriate for scientific papers.

    If Wikipedia allowed the posting of articles that only the original author could edit, fine, have at it, but allowing the modification of scientific papers after publication is not appropriate and probably makes them invalid scientifically because the content now has no connection to the original research.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Mar 19th, 2008 @ 10:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Refusal should be on credibili

    Looking at it another way, would you want to allow me to be able to edit your posts on this forum? Or is it more appropriate to require me to post my own responses as I've been doing?

    That's not looking at it another way. That's still missing the point entirely. When I post my content here I do so as is. You are then free to take my content and do what you want with it. You could even put it in a wiki and edit it. But the original source remains here. I am fine with that.

    That's the same thing that's going on here. No one will be able to edit the peer reviewed journal piece. That is the original source. The scientists would ALSO like to put that content into Wikipedia RECOGNIZING that others may edit it. They're doing this of their own free will.

    Except that the journal won't let them.

    Your point seems to be that they shouldn't want to. But that's not what we're discussing. It's a given: THEY WANT TO DO THIS. The problem isn't whether or not they want to do this. It's that the journal won't let them.

    My point is that Wikipedia allows the modification of works after publication, which is inappropriate for scientific papers.

    But that's not even what's being debated here.

    If Wikipedia allowed the posting of articles that only the original author could edit, fine, have at it, but allowing the modification of scientific papers after publication is not appropriate and probably makes them invalid scientifically because the content now has no connection to the original research.

    The SOURCE (the published journal article) remains.

    Do you really think that no scientific research should be published in Wikipedia? Wikipedia is an open forum for a reason. You can't tell it what content should not be published there.

    You seem to be arguing over a point that isn't even relevant here. Step back and realize what's being discussed here.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Xanthir, FCD, Mar 19th, 2008 @ 10:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Refusal should be on credibili

    Wikipedia already disallows original research. It's one of the major rules. This immediately disallows a scientist from putting their entire paper on Wikipedia, so you can stop complaining.

    What the scientists in the OP want is to be able to put *parts* of their paper on Wikipedia, such as useful pictures and graphs. This sort of stuff treads the line, but is often fine if it is informative for the article.

    Then, at the bottom, you link to a canonical version of the actual research paper in the References section! Everyone's happy!

    Seriously, have you ever really *looked* at Wikipedia? This is standard practice. You pull a bit of information out of a paper to add to a Wikipedia article, and reference it right there. Then the link to the full paper appears at the bottom automatically. It's quite easy to do, and neatly solves your entire objection.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    jim t, Mar 19th, 2008 @ 10:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Sadly, I usually agree with yo

    Hmm. I've never run into that problem, but my datasets are all maps anyway.
    I had a friend who did editing for a very well respected physics journal, oftentimes she completely reworked the images sent to her and then copyrights were placed only on said images, not the research.

    But, it appears that this varies from journal to journal.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Scott Spinola, Mar 19th, 2008 @ 11:00am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Refusal should be on credi

    You seem to be arguing over a point that isn't even relevant here. Step back and realize what's being discussed here.

    There are two debates here that you don't seem to distinguish between:

    1. Should journals prevent the publication of papers outside their journal? My answer (stated several times in several different ways) is no. Done. End of that debate since we agree.
    2. Is Wikipedia the proper forum to post scientific papers? My answer is no precisely because of the open editing concept that defines it.

    Step back and realize what's being discussed here.

    Maybe you should step back yourself. Maybe then you would realize that the original article (which I agreed with, by the way) spawned additional points of debate. I answered the original argument in the article then extended it. Isn't that what an open forum is for?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    MLS, Mar 19th, 2008 @ 11:00am

    Re: surely

    "...cant be used, critiqued, or even part included in another paper by the same scientist in another publication."

    Copyright law is not quite as draconian as the above might suggest to some ("Fair Use" does provide considerable leeway), but your basic point is quite valid. Why would one who is the author of a paper give away copyright to a publisher without even knowing if the paper will even be later published in a journal?

    Having faced this issue numerous times as counsel for a corporation whose scientists routinely prepared papers for publication, my response to journal policies such as this was quite easily stated to them. "We keep the copyright and you get a license to go do your $$ thingy." Each of them squealed like pigs and threatened not to ever publish papers submitted by those in the corporations' employ, but in the end every one of them capitulated once they understood that the license they would receive was more than sufficient to meet all of their "needs".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    ed, Mar 19th, 2008 @ 11:04am

    The fact that they said they want to put it on "wikipedia" is irrelevant. They could want to put it on 'no-one-will-ever-read-this-because-its-a-bunch-of-science-and-has-nothing-to-do-with-celebrities.co m' and the journals would still be throwing a fit.

    It's all about the money.. just like everything else.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Mar 19th, 2008 @ 11:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Refusal should be on c

    There are two debates here that you don't seem to distinguish between:

    Heh. Actually it was me who was distinguishing between the two all along, which is the point that I was making.

    So, if you really want to debate the point nonrelevant to the story, let's go there:

    Is Wikipedia the proper forum to post scientific papers? My answer is no precisely because of the open editing concept that defines it.

    This is based on faulty reasoning.

    1. It's based on the idea that someone would put up information on Wikipedia as being the definitive source. No one is claiming that.
    2. It's based on the idea that they're putting up the full content there rather than publishing it in a peer reviewed uneditable journal. No one is claiming that.
    3. It's based on the idea that you shouldn't put research findings on a site like Wikipedia because it would be editable. That's an argument against the entire concept of Wikipedia. You really think it's better that this information be kept entirely off Wikipedia than putting it there where a discussion can take place about it?

    You seem to have set up a strawman that just because the content can be editable, it shouldn't be up at all. This either shows a misunderstanding of how Wikipedia works in practice, or a misunderstanding of how information flows.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    Scott Spinola, Mar 19th, 2008 @ 11:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Refusal should be

    Please move past the idea that my arguments go beyond the scope of the original article. I already agreed in principle to it (and with you) on the point of allowing the publication of papers outside the journals generally. That is no longer at issue in my posts. My issue is with opening them for editing on Wikipedia and other open-authoring sites specifically. Nowhere in any of my posts did I suggest that scientific research should not be open to discussion or public review. I stated repeatedly that it should be. What I stated (also repeatedly) is that the content should not be editable which is entirely different than making it open for discussion. Allowing the editing of research findings (i.e., modifying or changing them) does not advance knowledge. It confuses it.

    Let's say that I post research on Wikipedia stating that cars with bumper stickers on them are "67% more likely" to suffer rear-end collisions. Someone sees that and disagrees with the findings. Maybe that person thinks my sample was too small or my tests were faulty or that I didn't have enough fingers and toes to count up the results properly. Is it better for that person to edit my text to read "67% less likely" or to respond to my findings or start a discussion about them?

    I do not argue against the wiki concept and, in fact, have considered implementing it at my job for user documentation. But neither do I suggest that, because it is good for some applications, it is necessarily good for every application.

    Now, to the specific points in your previous post:

    This is based on faulty reasoning.

    No. It's called a difference of opinion.

    1. It's based on the idea that someone would put up information on Wikipedia as being the definitive source. No one is claiming that.

    2. It's based on the idea that they're putting up the full content there rather than publishing it in a peer reviewed uneditable journal. No one is claiming that.

    Neither am I. I never stated it nor did I infer it.

    3. It's based on the idea that you shouldn't put research findings on a site like Wikipedia because it would be editable.

    Precisely. Findings are what they are: one author's conclusions to a study. If someone else comes to a different conclusion, the way to handle that is to post a response or start a discussion about it, not edit the contents. How can you even discuss the original findings on the site if someone edited them?

    That's an argument against the entire concept of Wikipedia.

    Arguing that scientific research papers are not appropriate content for wikis means precisely that I believe scientific research papers are not approprtiate for wikis. Nothing more. Nothing less.

    You really think it's better that this information be kept entirely off Wikipedia than putting it there where a discussion can take place about it?

    I never stated that it shouldn't be open to discussion only that it shouldn't be open to editing. You cannot have a valid discussion if the starting point keeps changing. The fact that the paper may or may not be published elsewhere is not relevant. It is published there and being discussed there so the baseline for the discussion there should not change.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    Pekka, Mar 19th, 2008 @ 11:57am

    This is very strange because researchers regularly write review articles on their research. So you can re-publish your original findings in a proprietary peer-reviewed review journal but not in wikipedia. Why did they not just re-do the figures (which would then not be under copyright since they are now a different figure).

    I think they should not have even asked the journal this. The journal probably thought that they wanted to publish their article verbatim in a free media.

    I don't have problem about writing about things in wikipedia. Every one should undertand that it is not a peer-reviewed publication and thats it. It has its uses regardless and is a lot more accessible than regular scientific journals.

    However due to the nature of the wikipedia as a public access media I think it strange that the authors wanted to use original figures at all. They are usually too detailed and confusing for non-scientists to understand. This seems like a lot of hot air about nothing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Mar 19th, 2008 @ 12:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Refusal should

    Scott,

    I get the feeling from reading your comments that you don't know how Wikipedia works.

    What I stated (also repeatedly) is that the content should not be editable which is entirely different than making it open for discussion.

    Any edit on Wikipedia is the equivalent of a discussion. All edits and history are saved.

    Let's say that I post research on Wikipedia stating that cars with bumper stickers on them are "67% more likely" to suffer rear-end collisions. Someone sees that and disagrees with the findings. Maybe that person thinks my sample was too small or my tests were faulty or that I didn't have enough fingers and toes to count up the results properly. Is it better for that person to edit my text to read "67% less likely" or to respond to my findings or start a discussion about them?

    But in Wikipedia that kind of edit wouldn't stand. It requires you to cite a source for the information you post, or it's quick to get edited out.

    Arguing that scientific research papers are not appropriate content for wikis means precisely that I believe scientific research papers are not approprtiate for wikis. Nothing more. Nothing less.

    So, you think it's better to have no information on scientific findings then to have it?

    Please explain.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    Gene Sprouse, Mar 19th, 2008 @ 12:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Refusal should be on credi

    An author who wishes his or her APS Journal article to be available freely on the internet, can post the published version of the article on his or her web site IMMEDIATELY on publication of the article. The article is freely available on the web. A link to this article placed on Wikipedia allows the article to be read, but not edited by non-experts. APS has allowed this for many years as a way to promote open access, but maintain library subscriptions to support low-cost publication of important physics results. The management of the peer review process, copy editing, reference linking and archiving have real costs associated with them. APS is a not for profit society, and publishes 18,000 articles/year.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    Scott Spinola, Mar 19th, 2008 @ 12:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Refusal sh

    So, you think it's better to have no information on scientific findings then to have it?

    This is why this debate is going nowhere. Taking specific discussion points out of their original context and rephrasing them as absolutes is a debate-ending tactic, not a legitimate response.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Mar 19th, 2008 @ 1:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Refusa

    This is why this debate is going nowhere. Taking specific discussion points out of their original context and rephrasing them as absolutes is a debate-ending tactic, not a legitimate response.

    I wasn't taking it out of context.

    I am legitimately asking you: why shouldn't you be able to put the results of scientific research on Wikipedia?

    As far as I can tell, there are two options: having the info on Wikipedia or not. I would think that it's better to have it on there, even if it there is a debate over how it's edited than not to have it at all. I'm asking you why you think the alternative is true?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 20th, 2008 @ 6:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Refusal should be on credibili

    Your continued use of "self-respecting scientist" unnerves me. You give a rather elitist impression that scientists are somehow 'better thsn that' and that sharing the kowledge degrades them. A scientist who tries to expand the understanding of others is "slumming it."

    While I will admit that many scientists are very bright and many, many have thought through and figured out problems I can't begin to tackle, they aren't better human beings, and I am not utterly incapable of following your logic even if I can't reproduce your process.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This