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. By the way, StumbleUpon can recommend some good Techdirt articles, too.

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  • icon
    Michael Ho (profile), 9 Feb 2012 @ 5:58pm

    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.

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    • icon
      xenomancer (profile), 9 Feb 2012 @ 6:21pm

      Re: 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.

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  • icon
    xenomancer (profile), 9 Feb 2012 @ 6:03pm

    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.

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  • icon
    Ds08 (profile), 9 Feb 2012 @ 7:47pm

    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


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  • identicon
    Samuel Newkirk, 9 Feb 2012 @ 9:45pm

    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.

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    • identicon
      Lawrence D'Oliveiro, 9 Feb 2012 @ 11:38pm

      Re: 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.

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  • identicon
    Bill Cohen, 28 Feb 2012 @ 6:34am

    fakes & scams in Open Access publishing

    Don't forget about the scam artists and phony "vanity publishers" in the open access journal field:

    http://carbon.ucdenver.edu/~jbeall/Beall's%20List%20of%20Predatory,%20Open-Access%20Publis hers%202012.pdf

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

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