1 of 4
1
scientific publishing rip-off? 
Posted: 20 April 2012 10:00 AM   [ Ignore ]
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1212
Joined  2007-04-28

They don’t say if this also applies to academic papers in other disciplines though obviously medicine and science are more important for mankind.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 April 2012 10:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2305
Joined  2007-01-30

Most interesting. I’d love to hear the good Doctor’s perspective on this.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 April 2012 01:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2800
Joined  2007-01-31

The article presents a pretty accurate view of the situation, IMO.  One point that I don’t think was mentioned (I’m in some haste, and may have missed it) was that granting agencies are increasingly demanding that publications arising from work they fund be made available in some form of open access. Some journals have “rolling” paywalls, so that access to current and recent issues must be paid for, but articles become freely accessible after a year (or some other set period).

Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 April 2012 02:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3444
Joined  2007-01-29

I’m very glad to see it.  Those [expletive deleted] have been ripping off the public and destroying libraries for way too long, and it’s high time academics pushed back.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 April 2012 02:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4647
Joined  2007-01-03

In the US, some funding agencies insist that all the work they pay for be made available to the public at no cost, but not many. And lobbyists from the publishing houses have been successful at killing legislation that would require it for all work paid for by the US taxpayer. Given the size of the US government R&D budget, if such a requirement were imposed, it would radically restructure the publishing industry and make things a hell of a lot cheaper.

There is still a need for publishers, though, even in the digital age. They provide branding and handle the logistics of distribution. But prices for digital subscriptions should be very low. There are some costs associated with publishing an electronic journal, even with all the peer review labor provided for free, but spread out over the many libraries that subscribe the individual cost would be minimal. But these publishers need not be for-profit. Non-profit publishers, including academic presses, should be launching digital journals to replace the print dinosaurs owned by the big three.

Like many problems in our society, at the core the problem is Wall Street. The demand for insanely high and ever-growing profit margins is destructive. It is impossible nowadays to run a for-profit, public company with a stable market and a single-digit profit margin. It’s not enough to be managed well and return a small, but reliable profit every year. Wall Street demands ever growing profits, and that is simply not sustainable and ends up killing the industry. (This is what is killing newspapers, not declining circulation.)

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 April 2012 01:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  649
Joined  2011-04-10

I noticed some encouraging action taken here:

http://isites.harvard.edu/icb/icb.do?keyword=k77982&tabgroupid=icb.tabgroup143448

Excerpt:

Faculty Advisory Council Memorandum on Journal Pricing

Major Periodical Subscriptions Cannot Be Sustained

To: Faculty Members in all Schools, Faculties, and Units
From: The Faculty Advisory Council
Date: April 17, 2012
RE: Periodical Subscriptions

We write to communicate an untenable situation facing the Harvard Library. Many large journal publishers have made the scholarly communication environment fiscally unsustainable and academically restrictive. This situation is exacerbated by efforts of certain publishers (called “providers”) to acquire, bundle, and increase the pricing on journals....

<snip>

...Since the Library now must change its subscriptions and since faculty and graduate students are chief users, please consider the following options open to faculty and students (F) and the Library (L), state other options you think viable, and communicate your views [note: link to email addr. removed]:

1. Make sure that all of your own papers are accessible by submitting them to DASH in accordance with the faculty-initiated open-access policies (F).

2. Consider submitting articles to open-access journals, or to ones that have reasonable, sustainable subscription costs; move prestige to open access (F).

3. If on the editorial board of a journal involved, determine if it can be published as open access material, or independently from publishers that practice pricing described above. If not, consider resigning (F).

4. Contact professional organizations to raise these issues (F).

5. Encourage professional associations to take control of scholarly literature in their field or shift the management of their e-journals to library-friendly organizations (F).

6. Encourage colleagues to consider and to discuss these or other options (F).

7. Sign contracts that unbundle subscriptions and concentrate on higher-use journals (L).

8. Move journals to a sustainable pay per use system, (L).

9. Insist on subscription contracts in which the terms can be made public (L)....

Some more recent additional coverage from guardian.co.uk

.

[ Edited: 24 April 2012 01:59 PM by sobiest ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 April 2012 03:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3444
Joined  2007-01-29

I was just coming here to post that.  Encouraging indeed.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 April 2012 09:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1212
Joined  2007-04-28

Does anyone know how this works with, say, academic philosophy, linguistics or literature journals? Presumably no peer reviewing is needed here, the editor alone decides. Are these too published at rip-off prices?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 April 2012 09:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2800
Joined  2007-01-31

Presumably no peer reviewing is needed here, the editor alone decides.

You can presume what you like, but I’d be very surprised if that were true of reputable journals in these fields, especially linguistics.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 April 2012 11:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3444
Joined  2007-01-29

http://linguistlist.org/pubs/journals/browse-journals.cfm

Do a ctrl-f for “peer-reviewed.” (Yes, linguistics is considered a science, and I have an NSF grad-school grant to prove it.)

Profile
 
 
Posted: 26 April 2012 03:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4647
Joined  2007-01-03

Why would they not need peer review? Yes, literature journals are peer reviewed (not all of them, of course, but the better academic ones are).

Peer review simply provides a minimal assurance of quality. The reviewing scholars check to see that the authors has made no obvious errors, has addressed the relevant sources and threads of discourse, the conclusions are supported by the evidence presented, and that the topic is of sufficient interest to merit publication. Only those sufficiently familiar with the narrow field that the paper engages can judge whether or not the article addresses the current threads of discourse in that sub-field. General editors can’t do this effectively.

Passing peer review doesn’t say, “this article is correct.” It’s a minimal hurdle that says, “this article is worthy of your attention.”

Profile
 
 
Posted: 26 April 2012 08:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1212
Joined  2007-04-28

Thanks for putting me right. I had thought that editors of literary journals were widely-enough read to judge unless the subject was particularly obscure eg The Merits of Various Translations of Dante. Any decent general editor could handle something like Symbolism in King Lear, perhaps.

No one said if the publishers of open science journals like those of linguistics and philosophy also rip university libraries off. Someone has to pay for The Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society and Mind even if no one ever reads them much!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 26 April 2012 12:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4647
Joined  2007-01-03

Any decent general editor could handle something like Symbolism in King Lear, perhaps.

Absolutely not, and especially not for an author, like Shakespeare, who is followed by an enormous train of critical literature. You can’t expect an editor to keep up with the scholarly discourse across the whole range of English literature. For an article on symbolism in Lear, you’d want Shakespearean scholars reviewing. It’s not enough to have read Shakespeare, but the reviewer has to be familiar with the critical literature and especially what’s been written on that and related topics in the last ten years or so. Has someone already made this argument? Has someone put forward an argument that disproves the article under review? Does the article address all the counterarguments that have already been made? Only someone well versed in that particular field is going to be able to do a decent peer review.

For more specialized journals, like Shakespeare Quarterly or Anglo-Saxon England, the editor is going to be an expert and can make the first pass at decision to publish. Only the obviously good articles are going to go to peer reviewers. For the nitty gritty comments, it’s best to have someone who has researched a similar topic and is intimately familiar with everything written on that particular topic, and that’s what peer reviewers do.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 29 April 2012 10:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1212
Joined  2007-04-28

Fair enough. Does this apply to poetry and fiction journals too?
I’d forgotten I’d mentioned the following elsewhere here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sokal_affair which says “The article “Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity”, published in the Social Text Spring/Summer 1996 “Science Wars” issue, proposed that quantum gravity is a social and linguistic construct. At that time, the journal did not practice academic peer review and did not submit the article for outside expert review by a physicist.”
So clearly peer review is important in specialised journals at least.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 29 April 2012 12:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4647
Joined  2007-01-03

No, creative writing is not peer reviewed. The editors make those calls.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 03 May 2012 09:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1212
Joined  2007-04-28

But don’t forget poor old Max Harris.

Profile
 
 
   
1 of 4
1