A Napster For Nerds?
from the Napster-wasn't-for-nerds? dept
Newsweek has a very short article with very few details about the Public Library for Science, which they jokingly dub the “Napster for Nerds”. It’s a nice name, but not a very accurate description. The idea is to make the stuff that normally goes into expensive scientific journals more accessible to everyone – by making articles available for free and providing “common language” commentaries on the entries. The article doesn’t indicate who’s writing those commentaries. I could see it becoming more interesting if it were a (somewhat moderated) open system where those commentaries could be written by any number of people who could agree or disagree with the original publication.
Comments on “A Napster For Nerds?”
Public Library of Science
Rather than write a brief journal article about the current revolution in scientific publication, I’ll just comment that the PLOS folks don’t seem to have done much homework. They conflate the issues of access (ability to get ahold of articles) and comprehension (having article content “in common language”). Further, they are seemingly unaware that publishing scientists themselves are forcing low- or no-cost availability of electronic journal articles. For all its disadvantages, dead tree publication does have an extensively demonstrated history of success as an archival medium. Like it or not, there are costs associated with hardcopy publication, and those costs must be paid somehow. With respect to the comprehension issue, I guess they’ve not heard of Scientific American and its cousins (or perhaps the language there is not sufficiently “common”).
Re: Public Library of Science
I won’t mock the PLOS people b/c I think their hearts are in the right place. I think one of their points is that publishers are claiming rights to content that should be open since it’s funded by taxpayers. Barring the whole dead-tree/commonlanguage arguments, I think they should be able to reprint scientific data as much as they want.
And I’d like to know how you’re getting access to low- or no-cost copies of Science/Nature/etc…?