DailyDirt: It's Time To Open Up Access To Academic Journals
from the urls-we-dig-up dept
It’s kind of ridiculous when researchers actually have to pay to read journal articles about their own research online, but that’s how academic publishing works. Even worse, the costs of access are obscenely high, limiting the readership to mostly people with access to libraries that can afford to pay the high subscription fees for journals. However, academics are starting to push back, and the good news is that there are at least a few efforts underway to create open-access online journals. Here are a few interesting links on the subject.
- Did you know that in order to get access to the Arts and Sciences journal collection at an academic search engine company, like JSTOR, university libraries pay a one-time fee of $45,000, and then an annual fee of $8,500 to maintain that access? With tools like Google Scholar available, academic search engines just seem unnecessary. [url]
- A new open-access, online-only journal for biomedical and life science research will be launched this summer. Plus, the journal promises a faster turnaround time for the peer review process, which typically takes several months. [url]
- A website called “The Cost of Knowledge” has been set up so that researchers can take a stand against scientific and medical publishing company Elsevier’s business practices. Elsevier also supports SOPA/PIPA and the Research Works Act, which aims to limit the free exchange of information. [url]
- To discover more interesting education-related content, check out what’s currently floating around the StumbleUpon universe. [url]
By the way, StumbleUpon can recommend some good Techdirt articles, too.
Filed Under: academics, copyright, google scholar, journals, publishing, research
Comments on “DailyDirt: It's Time To Open Up Access To Academic Journals”
hooray for open journals!
Hopefully, sites like arxiv.org and PLOS and others will become more commonly-cited, so that researchers aren’t contributing to publishers that aren’t fully committed to promoting the distribution of knowledge.
Ya, with companies like Elsevier supporting the skullduggery they have been lately… I need to get on with starting up my open science journal project.
hooray for open journals!
It’s not just the citations that matter. Though part of it may be more the simple matter of good PR, many of those seeking publication simply do not have an alternative that really stands out in their respective fields. Open science publications are great, but some form of cross promotion and some attention toward the minor detail of accumulating an active base of competent scientists needs to be tended to. It is high time for the open nature of the scientific method to be rid of the shackles of over presumptuous gatekeepers and flourish amid the unfettered confluence of discoveries being forgotten behind the tall walls of subscription fees.
Last I checked, I was paying ~$35 for 48 hours of “access” to each journal article I had to pay for outside of a university’s bulk license (ya, even as a member of both AIChE and ACS). If you don’t yet understand how asinine that is, it’s comparable to paying $35 for 48 hours of access to every single web page on Wikipedia and a required user account associated with your real personal information. In fact, the comparison is quite apt as both pay-per-view journals and Wikipedia acquire and publish user content which has been refined under a process of peer review. Wikipedia’s peer review may be a little more open and occurs after initial publication, but the principle is the same.
Support the public acces act sign the white house petition
Public access to federally funded research is important for economic development so people in start ups can see literature without expensive subscriptions. Important for health care for patients, nurses and physicians to see research results. Sign the white house petition in support of public access to the results of federally funded research
Issues with Google Scholar, etc
I agree with the need for cheaper (if not free) access to peer-reviewed research; as a student in biology who intends to go into research, I have an excellent view of how the cost of access to research data continues to limit the growth of knowledge. However, it is a sad fact that although there are options like Google Scholar, because most well done, “legitimate”, and generally well regarded research is still hidden behind pay walls. In a genetics seminar today, my professor mentioned how the only efficient method for finding good research articles is through databases of journals (like JSTOR) with entry costs that I am able to afford only because the university pays them. Until this problem is remedied with more access without general cost, Google Scholar won’t be able to mitigate the access issue.
Secondarily, while an online-only, free access journal sounds like internet utopia, I am leery of the line “the journal promises a faster turnaround time for the peer review process, which typically takes several months.” The per review process may be too slow for some people’s taste, and seems frankly geological to the internet community, there are reasons for it. Peer review takes time because a whole bunch of people go over everything that you state in a paper, making sure that there is no way that your scholarship or ethics could be called into question regarding your article. I can’t help but worry that “faster turnaround” will just result in a glut of sloppy or shady articles being published and referenced. Having bad or sloppy research be the primary public form of research will do nothing but harm the education of the public and the integrity of science in general.
can't help but worry that "faster turnaround" will just result in a glut of sloppy or shady articles being published and referenced
Why not have publication at different levels of peer-review, and label each publication with the level of peer-review it has so far undergone? Then some new finding could be made initially available at a lower-quality level, and if it survives a higher-quality level of peer-review later, its label can be correspondingly upgraded.
That way, we get the best of both worlds: initial timeliness, and later confirmation of high quality. Those who pay attention to something at the former stage without waiting for the latter will be well aware of the risks of doing so.
fakes & scams in Open Access publishing
Don’t forget about the scam artists and phony “vanity publishers” in the open access journal field: