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Faculty Votes For Open Access Policy At UC San Francisco

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the setting-an-example dept.

Education 146

Marian the Librarian writes "UCSF is among the first public institutions to adopt an open access policy, and is the largest scientific institution to have such a policy. The policy, voted unanimously by the faculty, will allow UCSF authors to put electronic versions of their published scientific articles on an open access repository making their research findings freely available to the public. Dr. Richard A. Schneider, who led the initiative, said, 'Our primary motivation is to make our research available to anyone who is interested in it, whether they are members of the general public or scientists without costly subscriptions to journals. The decision is a huge step forward in eliminating barriers to scientific research.'"

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University of Alabama retaliates (3, Funny)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#40108505)

UA faculty voted unanimously today to restrict all university research to millionaires and large corporations only.

Re:University of Alabama retaliates (-1, Redundant)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 2 years ago | (#40108695)

oh come on. Poor moderation there...

Marian (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40108535)

Madame libraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa rian.

Slashdot presents: The Unholy Shit (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40108609)

The rain was getting harder. It was now precisely 11:51 PM, and Mark was into his fifth beer. He was feeling pretty invincible but the night was young, and he intended to get wasted before it was all over. He had put in a rough week at work and he deserved it.

He lit another cigarette. He and his drinkin' buddies sat in their traditional circle, in Ian's apartment. The talk wandered from sex to work, back to sex, to basketball, finally settling on sex. Mark had eaten lunch at Taco Bell, and had drunk four cups of coffee between lunchtime and quitting. In addition, the beers were beginning to settle in. And now, at 11:51 PM, Mark had to take a shit. He stood up. "Shit break," he announced. It was customary among this group to make such an announcement.

Mark walked to the bathroom. As he locked the door behind him, thunder boomed. It was storming out there.

He pulled his pants down and sat on the toilet. Ian's bathroom was a mess. He counted five empty toilet paper rolls, two paperbacks, and yesterday's newspaper. His friends laughed about something. The lights flickered for a moment, and the pre-shit growl came from within. He could feel the product lined up inside him for disposal. Then, he began to push.

Plop. The first piece fell to the water. Then some movement, and Mark felt the main feature inside him, the mother lode. He grunted softly as he squeezed it out. It crackled past his sphincter, and splashed neatly into the bowl.

Then another one queued up, and came out. It was almost as big as its predecessor. Mark would have well-purged bowels tonight, he realized with a smirk. He heard thunder again, closer this time.

Another one? Jeez, he thought. When was my last shit? It ventured forth, Mark's muscles helping it out. It was the biggest one so far. The shit's passage through his anus, that rarest mix of pain and pleasure, was longer than any he could remember. Ahhhh...the stout log advanced with conviction. This was definitely going to be his finest creation; this was a huge one. Still grinning, he wondered if Ian had a camera.

He pushed. Peering between his legs, past his genitals, he saw that it had reached the water. This was like seeing the longest freight train ever. Damn, it was a wide one. And it was still attached! And there was more! He pushed more, harder. It kept coming. He couldn't even feel the end of this one yet; soon it was bending, folding on itself like a sundae topping. Mark stopped pushing and caught his breath. He was sweating; he realized that however long this piece of shit was, it wasn't nearly all the way out yet. He still couldn't feel the end.

He pushed, he strained, it kept coming. His intestines couldn't be that damn long, but this shit just wouldn't quit. In fact, he was feeling the diarrhoeal urgency of *having* to shit. He dutifully answered nature's call, and pushed harder. His efforts were rewarded with more shit. His sphincter was too strained to even pinch the loaf off. It was whole and complete.

He couldn't feel the end.

Fear now came to Mark. He flushed the toilet to make room for more. Even as the bowl refilled, the cramps rose up, and he pushed. Within seconds, the shit extended from his anus to bottom of the bowl. The harder he pushed, the more he had to shit. And it was getting worse. He scarcely had time to catch his breath; his face was quite red as he grunted and struggled to keep up. The shit seemed endless. He looked between his legs again, and gasped as he saw that the bowl was fully a quarter filled with his product, the water dangerously high. The tank wasn't even done filling, but he flushed again. Unfortunately, the plumbing was unable to handle the volume of feces, and the toilet backed up. Mark jumped when the cold water touched his buttocks.

It was now 11:57. Thunder roared outside as water and shit particles flowed onto the tile.

Mark's pants were bunched about his ankles, and he was in pain. The shit advanced relentlessly as he stumbled into the bathtub. He was almost panicking now, and didn't notice the trail of solid feces he had left. Gripping the tub for support, he squatted and kept pushing.

The conversation in the front room had stopped. Eddie smelled it first, and blamed a fart on Ian, but this was no fart. This was pure and concentrated; this was the smell that only the freshest shit can make. The four looked at each other, puzzled. Then they heard Mark's groaning from the bathroom.

"Mark, are you beating off again?" Doug asked. No answer.

The smell was worse. Brian sniffed deeply and gagged. "Jesus H. ...". Ian grimaced. "Goddamn...". They all went for the bathroom door at the same time. Ian jiggled the locked doorknob. Brian pounded on the door. "Dude, what the FUCK did you eat today?" No answer. Mark groaned. "You all right in there, Mark?"

They looked at each other again. Eddie sniffed and winced. There was no answer from inside. Brian knocked again. "Hey man, you OK?" No answer. A short scream came from within the bathroom.

Brian kicked the door open. Nobody spoke.

The odor was intense, feces was piled on the floor and in the bathtub. Mark was squatting next to the wall, his face impossibly red, his eyes helpless and terrified. Firm stool thrust forward from his anus like meat from a grinder. It landed in his pants bunched about his ankles, spilling over and piling up. He gritted his teeth and strained; all he could do was keep pushing. There was a sound like a ripping sheet and Mark's colon came loose from his now shapeless sphincter, oozing to the floor. His friends watched as the slimy organ descended, with shit still flowing from it. Mark screamed again, and somebody's watch beeped.

Brian got the worst of it, since he was closest to the door. He would later tell the police that he thought he had seen Mark's abdomen expand for an instant before it happened. None of the others had reported this. But they had all described the sound as a "dull thud", they had all been splattered with innards and feces as Mark's torso separated from the rest of his body.

"Massive gastrointestinal rupture/trauma secondary to indeterminate blockage" was noted in the medical examiner's report. An "unusually large amount of fecal matter" is also recorded, though the amount was not measured.

The funeral was closed-casket. Brian and Eddie seem to have recovered pretty well, though they never talk about Mark. Doug moved away, and nobody has heard from him lately. Sometimes, when he has to shit, Ian waits until the rain stops.

Re:Slashdot presents: The Unholy Shit (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40108639)

Classic!

Good, now... (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 2 years ago | (#40108611)

Now, let's get other big institutions on board with this, and then let's turn to the problem of journals. We really do not need journals anymore; their primary function is to distribute papers to other researchers, which can be done online, and peer review and editing can be done by professors at universities (and this is frequently the case anyway -- often unpaid). The Internet connects researchers to each other, so why are we not using it to accomplish these goals?

In any case, this is a good first step.

Re:Good, now... (5, Interesting)

noh8rz3 (2593935) | about 2 years ago | (#40108687)

Yes, but without journals, how will we per-judge the quality of others' work? This may sound facetious, but it's not. Any fool can write a journal article, and many fools can write compelling article. A journal offers getting and review by members in the field. How else can I judge the validity of a paper, especially if I'm not in the field myself?

Re:Good, now... (1, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 2 years ago | (#40108699)

The Internet already made this point moot, friend.

Re:Good, now... (5, Insightful)

noh8rz3 (2593935) | about 2 years ago | (#40108829)

no, the internet has made this question more relevant than ever. In a time of free and rapid dissemination of information, how can we judge the validity of that information. This is especially important if you're going to suggest supplanting a peer reviewed journal with open access. I await your answer!

Re:Good, now... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40108991)

The problem is not reviewing, the problem is gaining sufficient reputation.

You see, the internet replaces the distribution mechanism. It does not replace the reviewing process. So that we keep that as (as topic starter said) the way we already did it -- by academics, unpaid. Whether this is distributed electronically or on dead trees does not matter. The label that is on the distribution matters -- that is the seal of quality.
To generate a new seal of quality, we'll have to start from square one: building reputation.
After a steady flow of not publishing crap, reputation will be garnered. Even better, if some respected researchers use open access works as venues for their hot new stuff, then citation count will increase drastically, attention will be gained, and the whole process will be sped up.

But yeah, this won't happen overnight. That's no need to start though -- even a journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step and all.

Re:Good, now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40109181)

Thank you. It's exactly this.

It's stupid to assume a "pay-wall" automagically makes publications better or prevents fraud. There is _nothing_ that makes open access inherently less reputable than pay-wall scientific publishing.

And the truth is... there are already plenty of "open access" journals that are highly reputable (PLoS journals, for instance... but you can find more at sciencecommons.org), so... it's not something hypothetical... it's not a question of "if", but of "when".

Deal with it.

Re:Good, now... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40109097)

Want to guess who does the actual "peer reviewing"? You know... who judges the validity of published information and analysis...

Hint: it's not publishers.

It's the scientists themselves. And they do it without any type of monetary compensation (i.e. for free/gratis).

Scientists do the work.
(Other) scientists review the work.
Publishers only do typesetting, rip-off scientists of their intellectual property right and little more than that.

On the other hand... taxpayers ALREADY have to pay scientists to do research, already have to pay for scientists to spend their time doing peer-review, already have to give money to libraries so they can pay the publishers for their subscriptions (i.e. access to the research that was already funded by taxpayers to begin with). And... yeah... if they want to access that research that was bought and paid for them, guess what? THEY HAVE TO PAY YET AGAIN.

Here's a crazy idea... take all the money that universities and libraries pay to publishers worldwide and use it to enable "open access initiatives" to have the required tools and expertise (mostly at the level of typesetting, since everything else is already covered by scientists anyway) for preparation and free dissemination of high-quality publications.

Meanwhile... in the real world... current (i.e. already existing) open access journals are ALREADY some of the most reputed venues for scientific publication (e.g. "BMC Genomics"). So... yeah, no need to refute you when Reality already does it for me.

Please... do tell... in what way does the "open access" model (as opposed to the "pay-wall" model of scientific publishing) prevent scientists from doing what they already are doing for free (i.e. peer-review)? I await your answer!

Re:Good, now... (3, Informative)

noh8rz3 (2593935) | about 2 years ago | (#40109283)

ahh, I see. gone AC to avoid the bad karma...

Here's your answer - open access is just one piece of the puzzle, and without a peer review certification process it is meaningless. If you're a senior academic and leader in your field, then your reputation precedes you and people will turn to your stuff regardless of peer review. But if you're a junior academic / post doc, perhaps your stuff is legit or perhaps it is crap and you're pushing it out the door to up your publication count. We need a certified peer review process for this.

FYI, these open access internet journals, you typically have to pay money for the paper to get peer reviewed. I'm fine twith that. as long as there's a process!

Re:Good, now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40112627)

ahh, I see. gone AC to avoid the bad karma...

Ad hominem. Love it. I don't have a Slashdot account, therefore my statements are invalid, is it?

Here's your answer - open access is just one piece of the puzzle, and without a peer review certification process it is meaningless.

Uh... do "paywalled" scientific publishers pass any specific "peer review certification process"? If yes, what makes you assume a "open access" publication wouldn't? Back up your assertions or simply continue to illustrate your ignorance about the subject: your choice.

If you're a senior academic and leader in your field, then your reputation precedes you and people will turn to your stuff regardless of peer review. But if you're a junior academic / post doc, perhaps your stuff is legit or perhaps it is crap and you're pushing it out the door to up your publication count. We need a certified peer review process for this.

Uh... we already have a process of peer review and of building up reputation (a web-of-trust, if you want) and (surprisingly) YES, open access journals impose the same (if not higher) criteria for publication. This is obvious: regardless of whether you're a "paywalled" publisher or an "open access" publisher, it's in your best interest not to publish "crap", because "crap" doesn't get cited and lowers your citation indexes and stats.

FYI, these open access internet journals, you typically have to pay money for the paper to get peer reviewed. I'm fine twith that. as long as there's a process!

Don't need to FYI me, because I HAVE published in both "paywalled" and "open access" journals, so I KNOW you have to pay money to publish papers in some open access journals because I HAVE PAID. I, the content creator, paid money to get a published paper outside a paywall: and I'm ok with that.

Again, you failed to show in what way does "open access" undermine the peer review process.

Please re-read what you wrote:

In a time of free and rapid dissemination of information, how can we judge the validity of that information. This is especially important if you're going to suggest supplanting a peer reviewed journal with open access.

You're funny: you think "open access" doesn't involve peer review, for some strange reason. Besides... who mentioned "supplanting" anything? There's no reason why "paywalled" and "open access" can't co-exist. In fact, THEY ALREADY DO.

How can we judge the validity of that information? I don't know... maybe using THE SAME PROCESS WE'VE BEEN USING?! (did you even read what I wrote?). Go on "wikipedia" and read a bit on "open access". I think it would prevent you from making ignorant assertions.

Keep arguing with the silly AC, but you are the one who still failed to show how going from "paywall" mode to "open access" mode and/or the existence of the Internet somehow compromises the peer review process.

Hint: It doesn't.

(I await your answer!)

Re:Good, now... (0)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | about 2 years ago | (#40109357)

Have you ever heard of a search engine? It's this fancy tool that uses an algorithm to determine the most relevant webpage for your query. Somehow, I think there's space here to use that technology to build a search engine that will return you the most relevant article for your query. For example, beyond keywords, it could leverage highest number of citations, most blue-ribbon reviewers, best ratings, etc. You could even build reputation graphs for papers and reviewers.

All of that is old hat. And, if it is really critical to brand papers, you could have researchers create review pools, where random members rate a paper, and where the only thing you know is that "Badass Astronomers from Hell" said a paper is good. Once you figure out that these people are generally spot on with their review, you'll trust them more, search more for their reviews, and suddenly, you have Nature reborn online, but without all the overhead that doesn't go to scientists.

Oh, and someone should maintain a list of the sockpuppets. I'd hate to see them actually get modpoints.

Re:Good, now... (1)

noh8rz3 (2593935) | about 2 years ago | (#40109389)

who's a sockpuppet? is that an accusation?

here's a fact that blew my mind when my advisor told me - 90% of published articles are wrong. If this gets through the peer review process, how are you going to tell through your search bot which is best?

Re:Good, now... (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | about 2 years ago | (#40109589)

If 90% of published articles are wrong, the current model is already failing. What you're absolutely missing, is that there is nothing in the journal model that can't be replicated online. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. And since the heavy lifting - the writing of the paper and the review - is already done for free for the papers, it's trivial to put that process on the internet.

Looks like your other accounts managed to get some modpoints. Nice going.

Re:Good, now... (0)

noh8rz3 (2593935) | about 2 years ago | (#40109871)

I see you deduced that "noh8rz3" follows "noh8rz2" and "noh8rz". You're onto me, sherlock! Truth is, I create and use these accounts sequentially, because when I speak truth to power people mod me down into oblivion, essentially silencing any dissent. So by creating new accounts I'm doing my small part to keep slashdot a lively community. you're welcome.

Re:Good, now... (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | about 2 years ago | (#40110921)

Or, alternatively, it means you're a moron and your posts are a waste of screen space. Na, couldn't be. It's all a giant conspiracy to keep you from speaking the truth to power. What the hell is "power" in a Slashdot discussion anyway?

Re:Good, now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40111491)

"power" is the legion of mindless goog fanbois who drool all over themsleves at the mention of goog or android. "truth" is holding up a mirror at the claim "don't be evil."

Re:Good, now... (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | about 2 years ago | (#40111525)

Hi Bonch. Your OCD is showing again.

Re:Good, now... (1)

noh8rz3 (2593935) | about 2 years ago | (#40111503)

wow, AC nailed it. +1.

Re:Good, now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40109517)

Open access and peer review are orthogonal issues. And peer review of open access archives is as possible as it ever was in a fancy, expensive journal. The only difference is that anybody can pull an article from an open access archive. If that person is some bright young kid and is inspired, great. If its some well educated research team member determined to test it, defeat it, or build on it.. have at it.

Re:Good, now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40109581)

no, the internet has made this question more relevant than ever. In a time of free and rapid dissemination of information, how can we judge the validity of that information. This is especially important if you're going to suggest supplanting a peer reviewed journal with open access. I await your answer!

Easy, just add a facebook "like" and/or google "+1" button to every paper. The papers which receive the most votes must be the best...

Re:Good, now... (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 2 years ago | (#40110247)

no, the internet has made this question more relevant than ever. In a time of free and rapid dissemination of information, how can we judge the validity of that information. This is especially important if you're going to suggest supplanting a peer reviewed journal with open access. I await your answer!

Same way it's always done. You do realize that any idiot with a computer and a web page can put up whatever they want, right? How do we judge the validity of information we find on the Internet?

No reason we can't apply the same reasoning to online academic papers. The thing to remember is research is very rarely done in a vacuum - you draw on other's work and you want them to draw on yours.

If you're just starting out your research, you're probably working under the eye of another or assisting someone else's research (which if done pright, gets your name in the final paper). Perhaps you come across something interesting - write it up and show others in the field who may be interested to comment on it. Peer review happens constantly - you're reading papers from your field, you're publishing papers others are reading. The only thing a journal does is formalize the process a bit.

Re:Good, now... (2)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 2 years ago | (#40111067)

Peer review happens constantly - you're reading papers from your field, you're publishing papers others are reading.

That's not "peer review". Peer review means changes are made to correct errors prior to publication, or entire papers are withdrawn because they are bogus. It's not a "peer review" when someone arbitrary reads your paper. Google won't help you figure out if a paper is crap or not, it will only tell you that it contains a high percentage of the right keywords.

And peer review doesn't mean the paper is sent to your friends to review, it is sent to people who sometimes are your harshest critics. If a paper can withstand that kind of review, then it probably has some merit. Reviews, in most cases, improve the paper by suggesting better methods of presenting data or more easily understood language. Peer Review is a Good Thing.

Publishers don't just formalize the process a bit. They are the reason the process exists.

Open access without peer review is a bad thing. Relying on "reputation" is a bad thing, since even the most highly regarded scientists can publish nonsense. (Just last week, one such highly regarded scientist was approached by a grad student who referred to an old paper of his, to which he said "that was crap, ignore it." Names witheld to protect the honest.)

Open access will be to science what Pons and Flieschman's press conference was -- a way for more people to publish less correct work. Unless there is some mechanism added to enforce peer review, and that doesn't look likely. The scientific literature will become like wikipedia -- often wrong but ubiquitously referred to.

By the way, Oregon State did this in 2009 [oregonstate.edu] .

Re:Good, now... (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 years ago | (#40109023)

The Internet already made this point moot, friend.

Yes, because we all know you can believe everything on the internet.

Seriously, look at Wikipedia and loads of other things which get petty little squabbles about what is "true" and people spinning it to make their own point.

Good, solid, reliable peer-reviewed stuff (and I mean qualified peers, not random people on the internet) is much harder to achieve than wikipedia.

Think of how many "think tanks" put out position papers on behalf of whoever is paying for them -- much of that would utterly fail in a peer-reviewed context, but they get put out there to say "see, our opinion on science is just as valid as these guys". Joe Average has no idea this is just a tactic to muddy the waters -- it sounds awfully science-y to him.

I think the internet has done the opposite of making peer-reviewed journals moot. Hell, we keep hearing how much of science is absolutely unbelievable as the authors fail to use any meaningful scientific rigor.

Re:Good, now... (3, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 2 years ago | (#40108745)

Which I addressed in my post, but for clarity:
  1. Peer review is often unpaid under the current system
  2. You do not need a journal to organize peer review when researchers can communicate with each other rapidly on the Internet

Re:Good, now... (1)

noh8rz3 (2593935) | about 2 years ago | (#40108823)

No, you're not being complete. In order for open access to replace journals, there must be a rigorous, transparent method of peer review. A good journal definitely has a good peer review process, but how would I know if an article posted online has been peered review? perhaps you propose a public discussion system, but then every article is like an entry on slashdot :/

Re:Good, now... (4, Interesting)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 2 years ago | (#40108963)

Well, I think the solution lies in cryptography (disclaimer: I am a grad student doing research in cryptography). You need a system where researchers in a field could apply digital signatures to papers, but with a twist: the reviewers should remain anonymous after applying those signatures. This is not an impossible task; it is called a "group signature." The idea is that universities/researchers would cooperate to bring peer reviewers together, and those reviewers would be given group signature keys that they would apply to the papers they review. A person reading a paper could verify the signatures, which would tell them which consortium of universities/researchers organized the review process for that paper.

Like journals, the groups of reviewers could be organized on a per-month basis, and the names the whole group would be published -- with only a fraction actually reviewing any particular paper. It is not a complete break from journals as a system, it is just a way to use computers and the Internet to publish instead of relying on the old publishing companies; the way researchers communicate with each other has changed, and publishing articles should change too.

Re:Good, now... (1)

jank1887 (815982) | about 2 years ago | (#40109261)

mod parent up! I was just about to post about the problem of maintaining the anonymity of the peer review process while guaranteeing peer review. Science and Nature obviously have a different levels of rigor from the Journal of Your Mom's Basement. Your idea has merit.

Re:Good, now... (1)

pepty (1976012) | about 2 years ago | (#40111029)

It's a start. But peer review is rarely completely anonymous. First off, there may be only 10 or fewer people its logical to ask to review a highly specialized paper. In the consortia model, if "University of California" (10,000 professors?) signs a review, there's a good chance someone knowledgeable in their field could narrow it down to 2 or 3 professors before reading it, and know exactly who wrote it after reading it. Also, authors are often asked to suggest some of the reviewers, and are allowed to preclude personal enemies/competitors.

Re:Good, now... (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 2 years ago | (#40111885)

In the consortia model, if "University of California" (10,000 professors?) signs a review, there's a good chance someone knowledgeable in their field could narrow it down to 2 or 3 professors before reading it, and know exactly who wrote it after reading it.

Sure, but this is not something that will be true regardless of what system you use to manage peer review. My only point is that we can and should take publishing companies out of the loop -- they serve no purpose that cannot be served better / at lower cost using the Internet. The only requirement is that we do not weaken the security that publishing companies provide as a service right now -- in technical terms, I should be able to simulate a publishing company facilitating the peer review process, and such a simulation should not be distinguishable from a publishing company actually facilitating the process.

Also, authors are often asked to suggest some of the reviewers, and are allowed to preclude personal enemies/competitors.

The authors should not, however, know which, if any, of the suggested reviewers were actually selected.

Re:Good, now... (1)

noh8rz3 (2593935) | about 2 years ago | (#40109315)

The actual method (cryptography) isn't the issue. I'm sure it's easy to solve. The problem is having a transparent certified process for peer review. Where people say "ahh, they used the noh8rz3 method, so I can rely on it." This is the true value of the journal. It can be replaced by a company that facilitates peer review. But it will cost money up front.Get that piece of the puzzle, and open access is viable and won't destroy academia.

Re:Good, now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40109713)

The problem is having a transparent certified process for peer review. Where people say "ahh, they used the noh8rz3 method, so I can rely on it." This is the true value of the journal.

Actually, it is not. Most journals (at least in my field - medical image processing) want "new methods", and the peer review doesn't have access to the data or the implementation of the algorithm. All they do is test plausibility. Often it is even impossible to reimplement the method properly because parameters and "not so important" procedures are not properly described. And this happens in highly rated journals.

The true test of a method should be that it has been re-done by a second team, but for just confirming an algorithm you usually don't get a paper, so nobody really does it, unless, maybe when you have a "better" new method to present that you can compare to the old one.

I think the way PLoS does it is better then the current peer-review model: Everything that is technically sound gets accepted, and then the readers can comment and rate the article publicly.

Re:Good, now... (1)

pepty (1976012) | about 2 years ago | (#40111089)

I think the way PLoS does it is better then the current peer-review model: Everything that is technically sound gets accepted, and then the readers can comment and rate the article publicly.

One place where traditional peer review can excel above PLoS is that it is an editing process. Peers have the chance to suggest additional experiments and explanations, catch errors, improve clarity, and genuinely improve the paper before the rest of the world sees it. Of course that benefit is balanced by peers who just say "you need to cite (my totally irrelevant) article before you publish", etc.

Re:Good, now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40111117)

Different fields will vary - math for instance takes the stance that they will not verify the code, but that aside, the referees do closely scrutinize the proofs of the claimed results. Plausible is not an acceptable standard in our world. There is also something to be said for categorizing results - those that will be interesting to fellow mathematicians belong in a different journal (or journal analog) than those that may only be of interest to those working in Analysis or to those working in Algebra. Some results may only be meaningful (at this point) to those working on Lie Algebras rather than Algebra broadly defined. Often times these specialized areas eventually return results of value to the central subject, but until that point, it is not worth being brought to the attention of the broader community.

Re:Good, now... (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 2 years ago | (#40111409)

You're just replacing journals with universities. And universities a) don't want to run journals, b) can't run anything else effectively anyway, c) have a built in conflict of interest and d) journals accept papers from people who aren't affiliated with universities.

Re:Good, now... (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 2 years ago | (#40112095)

I think points (a) and (b) cannot really be solved by any technical means; if universities are not interested in facilitating peer review or editing and would rather just continue to pay publishing companies to do so, then even a perfect technical solution is irrelevant.

That being said, point (c) can be addressed by having many institutions collaborate on managing journals. I do not think that this is inherently problematic, and if the process is completely transparent then conflicts of interest could be immediately pointed out. It is not perfect, but neither is the current system; I think getting rid of publishing companies would ultimately be beneficial, and that it would not be too hard to mitigate/manage the problems of universities running the peer review process.

As for accepting papers from people who are not affiliated, I am not understanding your point -- are you claiming that if universities were running the peer review process, unaffiliated researchers would be unable to publish their work? If the submissions were anonymous to begin with, how would that even work? I envision a system where papers are submitted through some sort of a mix network, reviewed and given a group signature, and then published. The author names in the paper could be (cryptographically) committed, then opened once the authors are notified of their paper passing peer review (i.e. when the authors receive the signature, they open their commitment; the final paper would be the submitted paper, the signature, and the key to open the authors' names and contact information). We have the technology to do all of the above right now; it is really a matter of addressing your first two points, which I will admit may be fatal to this idea.

Re:Good, now... (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 2 years ago | (#40112427)

Why do you keep talking about cryptography? There isn't really a problem verifying that someone is who they say they are. The problem is that somebody has to do the organizational work, and no, your computer won't replace a good editor. That editor can be paid by a journal company, or by a university. It doesn't really matter, but there are some advantages to having some arm's length organizations, not the least being that most universities are already huge, bloated and inefficient.

"Publishing" companies will either change or die because their primary function, publishing and distributing paper journals, has disappeared. But similar organizations are still needed to do all the things that journal publishers do now OTHER than printing and distributing paper journals. Moving the whole thing under the auspices of universities won't change anything, and neither will some cryptographic signatures.

Incidentally, using open access journals is going to have to lead to some serious cuts to library funding and fees universities skim off grants for services. Which leaves control of the money in the researchers' hands, which I think is a good thing, but the librarians and university administrators probably won't like it.

Re:Good, now... (2)

bzipitidoo (647217) | about 2 years ago | (#40109045)

This is not a hard problem. The mere fact an article appears in a reputable journal is evidence it was properly peer reviewed. This can be replaced with digital signatures. An online journal could sign each approved article. Or if that's too hard, a journal can list on their own website (which itself is verified with a Domain Keys kind of scheme) all accepted papers and their digests, rather like most download site's md5sums.txt and sha1sums.txt files. Wouldn't even have to have the papers themselves, just the digests.

Not that that matters a great deal. Shouldn't limit ourselves to traditional peer review to filter papers. With the improvements we have in communications, we'll see improvements in vetting processes. Meantime, in many ways better than peer review is number of citations. The more a paper is cited, the more significant it is thought to be. Already, that is pretty easy to check, as scholarly websites slowly accumulate papers and link them all together. Of course, have to be careful that measure of excellence is not gamed. You'd also want to consider who cited a paper. Wouldn't be hard to produce a bunch of trash just to pump up the number of citations on another piece of trash.

Re:Good, now... (1)

noh8rz3 (2593935) | about 2 years ago | (#40109325)

Meantime, in many ways better than peer review is number of citations. The more a paper is cited, the more significant it is thought to be.

that's super, but...

peer review is intended to vet the paper BEFORE it's published - you know, when it doesn't have any citations? Also, peer review isn't just a thumbs up / thumbs down. You get valuable feedback from leaders in your field, and can redo your paper and research so make it stronger. I don't have the link but search youtube for "hitler third reviewer" for a funny video on the topic.

Re:Good, now... (1)

jank1887 (815982) | about 2 years ago | (#40109339)

I can see it now. there will be a paper clearinghouse. it'll be like Digg for academics. Better start planning on exploiting the system now, I'm sure there's money to be made in this somewhere.

Re:Good, now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40109921)

Counting cites like:

There are many conclusions [Bul1995] [Lsh2011] [It2012] in the past that have been incorrect because they did not consider the impact of the...

for reputation purposes will give way too much credit to papers by the BulLshIt team of researchers.

Re:Good, now... (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 2 years ago | (#40111165)

Peer review is often unpaid under the current system

Peer review is often paid in a quid-pro-quo manner. I.e., if you publish you are expected to review in return.

If every scientist can publish without having peer reviews, why would they volunteer to peer review other people's work? It's not a fun job.

You do not need a journal to organize peer review when researchers can communicate with each other rapidly on the Internet

The ability of folks to communicate quickly amongst their own group has nothing to do with peer review and does nothing to reduce the need for it. One scientist publishing a paper cannot be expected to deal with potentially thousands of other scientists in his field sending him questions or comments about a paper he's already published. You can't unring the bell. You can't unpublish a bogus paper. Peer review can keep the bell from being rung initially.

Re:Good, now... (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 2 years ago | (#40111375)

You call that addressed?

Journals certify the peer review. They pick the reviewers, keep track of who's a crappy reviewer, etc. The journal is motivated to make sure things stay legit because their reputation is on the line, and that's really all they have. If you don't have someone overseeing things you get... the YouTube comment section. Or Slashdot.

Re:Good, now... (3, Insightful)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 2 years ago | (#40108875)

Did you just not see the "peer review and editing can be done by professors at universities " part what you are replying to?

The basic model of journals (not all use it of course) is:

* Papers are submitted with no payment to the authors.
* Papers are sent for review to experts - usually university professors (who often then oass it to their doctorate students) - with no payment to the reviewers.
* The journal then prints the accepted papers and sells them to the very places that both supplies the work and the reviewers for free.

Now there is a bunch of administration work the journal does, but we have computers these days, and universities already have a bunch of admin staff.

The return the reviewers/submitters get is the prestige of being published in a respected journal and of being a reviewer/editor for a respected journal. The same thing would apply if the journals stopped being money siphoning devices.

The main issue is certain journals are prestigious now and that takes time to change. If you have what you believe is a great piece of research now, where are you going to submit it? The prestigious journal that looks great on your list of publications and likely pulls in more grant money but that charges a fortune to libraries to buy it? Or that new relatively unknown journal that sells to libraries at cost (electronic copy free)?

Hopefully the newer fields can get the ball rolling since they don't have as much of the existing prestige problem.

Re:Good, now... (3, Insightful)

uncqual (836337) | about 2 years ago | (#40110073)

Aren't there some important missing steps in that process for respected journals? Those steps being performed by technical editors who:

  • * Review the flood of papers they receive.
  • * Reject the vast majority of papers received.
  • * Select appropriate reviewers for the remaining papers.
  • * Coordinate updates among reviewers/authors.
  • * Make a final publish/no publish decision.

Although these steps don't (I think) justify the outrageous prices for many journal subscriptions, it's a lot of tedious work that requires technical expertise and I'm not sure one can find enough unpaid qualified gatekeepers to do it reliably and in sufficient volume consistently enough.

These steps seem to be important to maintain the reputation of the journal by not passing too much unworthy BS to reviewers (thereby resulting in them withdrawing from the review pool) and by not rejecting too much really important work (that later gets published in a lesser journal raising its relative ranking and increasing fragmentation in the field and resulting in a lot of "fairly good" journals but no "great" journals in a field)

Re:Good, now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40111061)

Although these steps don't (I think) justify the outrageous prices for many journal subscriptions, it's a lot of tedious work that requires technical expertise and I'm not sure one can find enough unpaid qualified gatekeepers to do it reliably and in sufficient volume consistently enough.

The already existing open access journals, many with good reputations, are an existence proof that your concerns are minor if they exist at all.

Re:Good, now... (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 2 years ago | (#40111447)

The existing open access journals have technical reviewers, do all of the things he listed, and charge hefty fees for publication to pay for it all. So they prove something, all right, but not what you think they do.

Re:Good, now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40111129)

* Review the flood of papers they receive. * Reject the vast majority of papers received.

Okay, that sounds non-trivial. I guess have some grad students be first-round reviewers to eliminate the papers that are definitely worthless, maybe?

* Select appropriate reviewers for the remaining papers.

This is done by a computer program (or, at least, easily could be).

* Coordinate updates among reviewers/authors.

Also done by a computer program.

* Make a final publish/no publish decision.

I'm pretty sure the program committee which actually makes that decision is just made up of the reviewers and is also unpaid.

Re:Good, now... (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 2 years ago | (#40111497)

Clearly you don't know much about scientific publishing.

Coordinating reviewers and authors is non-trivial. The journals all have computer systems that try to do it, and more often than not something doesn't work right and the actual live editor has to step in.

The (paid) editor makes the publish/no publish decision. Not the reviewers. Not whatever a "program committee" is. The reviewers make (frequently contradictory) recommendations. The editor looks at what the reviewers said, what the authors said, and makes a decision based on that. Quite often you have an idiot reviewer who would sink the publication of a paper if not for an editor who recognizes the reviewer is an idiot.

Re:Good, now... (1)

pepty (1976012) | about 2 years ago | (#40111417)

it's a lot of tedious work that requires technical expertise and I'm not sure one can find enough unpaid qualified gatekeepers to do it reliably and in sufficient volume consistently enough.

What I think would work well is the law school journal model, which is essentially student run but still high quality due to the extreme reputation enhancement you get from being part of the process. Have groups of graduate students and postdocs (all in the same field, but not necessarily all in the same school) be responsible for most of the editing functions; they get paid in reputation (what you need most while training) and maybe travel costs for journal-specific meetings. Students would also end up with a lot of valuable insight into how the academic game is actually played and the political skills they will need. Riding herd you would still have big name professors on the masthead to add clout and cajole procrastinators, and you could farm out the IT and paper publishing to the university press.

Re:Good, now... (1)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | about 2 years ago | (#40108985)

>> How else can I judge the validity of a paper, especially if I'm not in the field myself?

Look for +5 Insightful

Re:Good, now... (2)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | about 2 years ago | (#40109005)

Yes, but without journals, how will we per-judge the quality of others' work? This may sound facetious, but it's not. Any fool can write a journal article, and many fools can write compelling article. A journal offers getting and review by members in the field. How else can I judge the validity of a paper, especially if I'm not in the field myself?

We are talking about science.

You know, testable explanations and predictions about everything.

You judge the validity of a paper by testing their explanations and predictions. That's essentially what the scientific community does for a living. Some person finds something odd, some other person comes up with an explanation, others test that explanation to see if its valid, and in the process might find other odd stuff. Rince and repeat.

If you are worried that, without journals, you might not get a conforting authority dictating what you should and should not believe then rest assure, because organizations such as universities and research institutions are more than willing to put their logo on the cover of their member's papers, and also distribute them to the public.

So, it's safe to say that the sky isn't falling.

Re:Good, now... (0)

noh8rz3 (2593935) | about 2 years ago | (#40109345)

NO!!!! the whole point of peer review is to judge a paper BEFORE it is published. whatever. I'm sick of this thread. a bunch of egghead wannabees thinking they know what goes into academic work. I'm in academia, and I know how critical the peer review process and certification (call it thumbs up, or blessing) is. Go back to your IT job.

Re:Good, now... (1)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | about 2 years ago | (#40110063)

NO!!!! the whole point of peer review is to judge a paper BEFORE it is published. whatever. I'm sick of this thread. a bunch of egghead wannabees thinking they know what goes into academic work. I'm in academia, and I know

Considering what you've been posting, your claim, that you are in academia, is not believable.

Re:Good, now... (1)

noh8rz3 (2593935) | about 2 years ago | (#40110213)

Whatever. 4 conference papers, 3 journal articles. varying degrees of junk. but I gotta get published! It would be much easier if I could just post any crap online, because then I wouldn't have to jump through any hoops for rigor or accuracy.

Re:Good, now... (1)

pepty (1976012) | about 2 years ago | (#40111433)

NO!!!! the whole point of peer review is to judge a paper BEFORE it is published.

Very true. As you pointed out, most of the value added by peer review happens before publication.

Re:Good, now... (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 2 years ago | (#40112241)

You judge the validity of a paper by testing their explanations and predictions. That's essentially what the scientific community does for a living.

Right. I want to judge the validity of a paper on the Higgs boson, so I rent time on the SSC to reproduce the experiment. Everyone else who wants to judge does the same thing. Seems like a good use of limited resources. Can you find me a funding agency that will pay for this?

Peer review puts this work in the hands of a few people who are allegedly experts in the field, and their job is to judge the validity of the paper, not necessarily the results of the experiment that it may be reporting on. Was the scientific process followed? Were there controls where necessary? Does the data support the conclusion, whatever it may be? Is the data presented in a logical and reasonable manner? Are the assumptions underlying the paper reasonable? Is there some glaring error of omission or execution? Is the material itself publishable? Is it fresh and new, or simply reworked decades old textbook material? Are there proper citations for previous work, or previous work that should have been cited but was not?

You forget, the readers may not be experts in the field. They may be expanding their horizons or looking for new research questions, and expecting every one of them to "test the explanations and predictions" for themselves is silly. Expecting them to know that Smith and Wesson in 1975 did a similar experiment and came up with similar results but a different conclusion, and that the paper they are reading is incomplete because it did not discuss that experiment, is outrageous.

... because organizations such as universities and research institutions are more than willing to put their logo on the cover of their member's papers,

And this serves the function of peer review and validation how, precisely?

Re:Good, now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40109549)

I don't know how to solve the "peer-review" problem, but locking the research up in journals for a large ransom doesn't seem like the right solution.

I would imagine that once we have a critical mass of open university research, we might see solutions to that particular problem pop up. And UCSF being a trailblazer might just put them in a great position to direct the landscape of university research sharing.

Re:Good, now... (1)

Sloppy (14984) | about 2 years ago | (#40109697)

How do you, as a reader, judge whether a journal is real or not?

Move that decision (however it is that you're implementing it) from the journal to the paper.

Or not. What you mind find is you judge the validity of each journal using an amazingly weak and vulnerable algorithm. Solve that problem and you'll solve the paper problem.

Re:Good, now... (1)

noh8rz3 (2593935) | about 2 years ago | (#40109901)

this "amazingly weak algorithm" has worked for science for hundreds of years, and we've achieved our greatest accomplishments on the back of this "weak" system. In the meantime, we have "vibrant" communties like /. or digg where people waste their time saying inane things. QED.

Re:Good, now... (1)

pepty (1976012) | about 2 years ago | (#40111619)

How do you, as a reader, judge whether a journal is real or not?

Move that decision (however it is that you're implementing it) from the journal to the paper.

Most readers aren't in a vacuum. The average reader (been active in the field for 5-40 years) of the average journal article probably already has a relationship with the principal author: they've known each other for years, hired each other's undergrads and grad students as grad students and postdocs, spoken to each other at conferences and seen each others' presentations. At the very least they've probably already read several articles by the author and maybe reviewed one of them. Journal articles and conference proceedings are the permanent record of academic science, but it's only a small part of the communication.

Re:Good, now... (2)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 2 years ago | (#40108689)

Good luck. Most Universities are FILLED with corporate kissasses.

I've worked at a few. The people at the top wearing suits are no different than the people at the top of the corporations wearing the suits, nincompoops that have mastered the Peter Principle.

Re:Good, now... (1)

FORTRANslinger (950850) | about 2 years ago | (#40109129)

The Peter Principle: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Principle [wikipedia.org] . I'd never heard of that principle under that name, but I've come across it often enough in academia and in "real work" places.

Re:Good, now... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40108713)

Your mom has an open access policy.

Re:Good, now... (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 2 years ago | (#40111329)

You're right! What we need is some entity that accepts papers, matches them up with peer reviewers, provides editors, provides a known location to find papers... oh right, that's what journals do now. I don't know anyone who actually uses paper journals, and I don't think the library at my (major) university buys most journals in physical format anymore. I also don't think PLOS even prints a dead tree version. That doesn't mean "journals" aren't necessary.

Re:Good, now... (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 2 years ago | (#40111425)

What does this policy actually do? Faculty were not forbidden to use open access repositories in the past and under the new policy they're not required to use them either. Is this just a nudge?

Copyrights? (0)

noh8rz3 (2593935) | about 2 years ago | (#40108733)

Typically, when you submit to a journal you give them the copyright for publishing your work, and can't publish it elsewhere. Is ucsf saying that they won't publish their articles in any more journals? ThT seems like. Step bCkwRds.

Re:Copyrights? (3, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 2 years ago | (#40108769)

Not necessarily a step backwards; it could be a step towards ending the anachronism that is journal publishing. Really, what are journals doing for us these days, that cannot be done online?
  1. Researchers can be organized over the Internet to participate in peer review; this is already done voluntarily in many cases under the current system.
  2. Editing can be coordinated online as well, and is likewise often done by unpaid volunteers.
  3. Papers can be distributed to researchers over the Internet instead of being bound and printed.

So really, the only thing that journals have left at this point is their names -- a paper in a "top journal" looks good on a CV, regardless of whether or not the paper is really groundbreaking. Is that really something that justifies the continued existence of journals? I think not...

Re:Copyrights? (2)

noh8rz3 (2593935) | about 2 years ago | (#40108863)

1) academia operates on reputation, so a paper in a more rigorous journal does and should carry more weight. This is a good thing because it helps separate good work from the junk. 2) You say things like "papers can be..." but I'm saying that online access is worthless unless there is a certified transparent peer review process. I await your suggestions...

Re:Copyrights? (2)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 2 years ago | (#40109059)

academia operates on reputation, so a paper in a more rigorous journal does and should carry more weight. This is a good thing because it helps separate good work from the junk

Except that I have seen good work published in less "rigorous" journals (well, in CS it is more conferences than journals, but the effect is the same: I have seen good work presented at lower-tier conferences, and I have even seen people cite groundbreaking papers and get published in top-tier conferences for incremental improvements, when the groundbreaking paper itself was rejected from the top tier conferences). The name of the journal that a paper is published in is only loosely related to the quality of the paper. Articles should be judged on the quality of the work, and reputations should be built by publishing quality results, not by publishing in particular journals.

You say things like "papers can be..." but I'm saying that online access is worthless unless there is a certified transparent peer review process. I await your suggestions...

Well, we are having this conversation in two different threads, so I'll just reiterate this point: we can use group signatures to facilitate peer review. Researchers / institutions can coordinate to bring together a couple dozen reviewers, and then some random subset can review a particular paper; if the paper passes review, that subset applies a group signature for the group of reviewers and concatenates it to the paper, which is then published, or else sends anonymous feedback to the authors of the paper (which is what happens in the current system). When someone reads a paper, they can see that some subset of the group of reviewers agreed that the paper should pass the review process, but learns nothing about that subset. The only thing that needs to be done is for the researchers to be organized, but that is something that can be done cooperatively and which does not require a publishing company to facilitate.

Re:Copyrights? (3, Insightful)

noh8rz3 (2593935) | about 2 years ago | (#40109253)

The only thing that needs to be done is for the researchers to be organized, but that is something that can be done cooperatively and which does not require a publishing company to facilitate.

I can see a role here for a peer review facilitiator to come in, manage the process, and give it a certification that the industry accepts as valid. Perhaps this would cost the publishing institution ~$1000, but then the paper would be free to all. Once this piece of the puzzle comes into place, then I agree that journals can go by the wayside. You wanna go into business?

Re:Copyrights? (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 2 years ago | (#40112229)

You wanna go into business?

Thanks for the offer, but what I am trying to do is take the entire business aspect out of this ;-)

Re:Copyrights? (1)

pepty (1976012) | about 2 years ago | (#40111841)

Researchers / institutions can coordinate to bring together a couple dozen reviewers, and then some random subset can review a particular paper; if the paper passes review, that subset applies a group signature for the group of reviewers and concatenates it to the paper, which is then published, or else sends anonymous feedback to the authors of the paper (which is what happens in the current system).

Bear in mind that in many journals you'd have to go through that whole process for each individual paper , and a random subset could quite well include people who have no qualms with actively screwing over an author they hate/compete with.

Re:Copyrights? (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 2 years ago | (#40112219)

Bear in mind that in many journals you'd have to go through that whole process for each individual paper

OK, but if it is already happening under the current system then we have not really taken any steps backward. If that is not happening under the current system, why would it happen under the system I described?

a random subset could quite well include people who have no qualms with actively screwing over an author they hate/compete with.

I know for a fact that happens under the current system; it happened to one of the people in my own research group. It is unfortunate, by as was noted elsewhere there are limits to how anonymous authors and reviewers can actually be, especially in very specialized fields where everyone knows what everyone else is working on.

Re:Copyrights? (2)

pauljlucas (529435) | about 2 years ago | (#40108897)

[W]hat are journals doing for us these days, [sic] that cannot be done online?

A paper cited in a journal will be there indefinitely. One can always get a hold of the original paper even for papers written decades ago. Can you guarantee that the URL for a paper that is available only online will still work in 10 years? How about 50?

Re:Copyrights? (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 2 years ago | (#40108971)

That is what DOI is for, and there is no reason that big research institutions could not store archives of published work -- which they already do by maintaining bookshelf upon bookshelf of bound journals.

Re:Copyrights? (1)

codeAlDente (1643257) | about 2 years ago | (#40109119)

In my experience the big research institutions are getting rid of the old bound journals, and won't take any more, even from well-maintained private faculty collections. I find it unlikely that any big institution will want to maintain a working archive of thousands and thousands of electronic journals either. The NIH is a proponent of open access, and the pub med central open access subset is an ideal example of stored archives. But even then, journals still serve a valuable function, and copyright still matters because it's how they make money. I'm all for phasing out the current publication model, but the UCSF policy won't change anything without a viable alternative to the current semi-independent peer review process, that allows scientists to publish without paying hefty fees. This reality is why the policy doesn't have any teeth.

Re:Copyrights? (1)

codeAlDente (1643257) | about 2 years ago | (#40108965)

The current peer review process is not perfect, but as you mention, it provides several benefits: researchers can be organized, and because of independent journal publishing, the people who select the peer reviewer are different from the people with a personal financial stake in the grant-funding process. Same with editing - the editor must referee between the authors and the reviewers, and if they're scientific colleagues, that easily leads to conflicts of interest. pauljlucas just covered the distribution issue.

Re:Copyrights? (1)

jank1887 (815982) | about 2 years ago | (#40109313)

last time I looked through the Elsevier policy, you have rights to the manuscript, you have rights to the modified manuscript after peer review, and they have rights to the version of the peer reviewed article that they typeset for publication. they may also ask you to agree to certain limitations to your distribution of the pre-prints, but many of those are fairly tame.

Re:Copyrights? (1)

pepty (1976012) | about 2 years ago | (#40111675)

Not quite, but there is a movement among universities to reserve copyright on their faculties' publications. Elsevier can publish it, but the professore wouldn't be able to give them an exclusive copyright to the submitted paper.

Let the Seed Grow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40108737)

Open access is one step, the other is for you reading this to encourage your children and everyone you know to promote/fund/do science. Science and Engineering will solve all of our problems just like they have throughout all of history. Plant the seed and don't stop watering.

Re:Let the Seed Grow (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40108763)

Chemist here. Science will not, nor will anything else, solve all our problems.

Don't be an idiot.

Re:Let the Seed Grow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40108977)

Your response was unfortunately obviously coming... please remember Science includes Social Science. Science and Engineering by definition are the things that discover how something works and solves a problem. Sure, some problems may be unsolvable, such as the heat death of the universe, but insofar as anything can be solved or made better, it will be through sci/eng (or chance).

Re:Let the Seed Grow (2)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about 2 years ago | (#40109157)

Social Science isn't science. And I say that with a BA in History and a Master's in Political Science.

Re:Let the Seed Grow (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40109237)

Then tell that to those with PHDs in Social Science. Just as certain sciences such as evolutionary and theoretical cosmology have to use more esoteric means of falsification and experiment, so do certain social sciences like history and political. Obviously other social sciences like psychology resemble "proper" science more readily. Whatever your definition, popperinian or not, we can all agree that something along the lines of *as much as possible* of - Theory - Evidence/Experiment - Falsification, comprises a science.

Re:Let the Seed Grow (1)

jank1887 (815982) | about 2 years ago | (#40109363)

I think we should just go back to calling them all Philosophy. Then I could stop explaining to people why they're called PhD's.

Re:Let the Seed Grow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40109433)

I wasn't going to go there, but yes, there's really just Philosophy (whether from an armchair or lab bench) and applied philosophy (engineering).

Re:Let the Seed Grow (1)

bjorniac (836863) | about 2 years ago | (#40111793)

I've got a PhD in physics, my partner a PhD in Sociology. Her dissertation consisted of obtaining qualitative data regarding a social phenomenon, building a model, collecting quantitative survey data and statistically analyzing that data to test hypotheses drawn from the qualitative data.

So: Model building from a theoretical basis, hypothesis testing from observed data and analysis. That, my friend, is science. The only difference between her work and that of my colleagues who are experimentalists is that her instrument was a survey instead of an atomic clock.

I, on the other hand, did a bunch of maths, and was an exception in my field by being able to test my work against observations. A master's in Polisci might not have got you close to science, but don't presume that science isn't being done in the social sciences - it is, and done right it can be of vital importance to the society we live in.

Re:Let the Seed Grow (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about 2 years ago | (#40112263)

So: Model building from a theoretical basis, hypothesis testing from observed data and analysis.

We did the exact same. However, the difference, and why I believe social science isn't real science, is in what is being measured. In biology, physics, mathematics, chemistry, even things like geology or archeology, the researcher is dealing with concrete, consistent laws and processes. The laws of physics do not change, basic biological processes do not change, if 2 chemicals react today they will always react. This means that, along with a descriptive capability, it allows for a very predictive capability in science. You could describe a phenomena today, and the same conditions will create the same phenomena millenia from now. It gives a measure of certainty to findings, because you know that the laws the findings are based on are not going to change. And as we learn and experiment, our knowledge of these concrete laws grows even better, which makes predictions even more accurate.

Social science is very well equipped for descriptive analysis. It can tell you why the battle at Gettysburg played out the way it did. It can tell you why poverty or unemployment levels are the way they are, and the effects it has had on people. It can tell you how the counterinsurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan have played out, and what contributed to the current situation we see today. What it cannot do, with any certainty, is tell you how the war in Afghanistan is going to end. It cannot tell you when the next war will occur, or what will cause it. It has no predictive capability whatsoever, because social science at its core relies on and studies something that is totally random, so irrational, as to preclude any attempt at predictability; people. People do not follow immutable laws, they don't behave rationally; just when you think you know what someone will do, they go and do something completely different. It is for this reason why I say social sciences aren't real science. In real science, you can say "based on our understanding of the laws, this should happen, and we should see results accurate within whatever measurement." In social science, they best anyone can say is "we think that, given these set of circumstances, this might happen, at roughly this rate/level/intensity, but there's no guarantee." This inability to accurately predict is why I argue that social science is not actual science.

Open Access (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40108781)

[spoken with a lisp] Most people in San Fran think everybody ought to be "open access"!

Re:Open Access (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40108809)

fuck you, harelip

Re:Open Access (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40108945)

Open access is fabulous! (Knowing smirk)

More of a suggestion than a policy (4, Informative)

codeAlDente (1643257) | about 2 years ago | (#40109035)

So their "policy" is that taxpayers have the right to see published forms of research they funded, as long as it's OK with the journal publisher. From TFA: "Researchers are able to “opt out” if they want to publish in a certain journal but find that the publisher is unwilling to comply with the UCSF policy. “The hope,” said Schneider, “is that faculty will think twice about where they publish, and choose to publish in journals that support the goals of the policy.”

Effect on Promotion and Tenure (3, Interesting)

cortex (168860) | about 2 years ago | (#40109419)

Most researchers will think about this for about 2 seconds and then publish in the journal with the most prestige and highest impact factor that they can. Publishing in high impact journals is a major factor in promotion and tenure for professors, so until universities adapt their policies on promotion and tenure, professors will continue to published in prestigious and expensive closed access journals. When reviewing someone for promotion or tenure, high-level administrators don't have time to read all the journal articles a professor has published, so they really heavily on g-indices and/or h-indices that are based upon journal impact factor scores.

Re:Effect on Promotion and Tenure (1)

mx+b (2078162) | about 2 years ago | (#40110755)

This makes me wonder: if they do not have the time to keep up on the progress of the research groups they "manage", why should they have the authority to make decisions like tenure in the first place? i.e., more tweaks to the bureaucracy are needed, not just promotion policies.

Re:More of a suggestion than a policy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40111413)

Yes, when I saw the headline I thought, "wow, amazing, that took guts". All of the faculty at a leading academic research institute actually refusing to publish in non open access journals would be huge; it would be like a major power finally declaring war in this smoldering conflict (and well overdue IMO). Then I saw the "opt out" clause and was deflated-- it is completely 100% meaningless. It's just basically saying "we support open access", but doesn't actually do anything.

The one thing that the journals have as leverage is the prestige of the top journals, as others have noted. It would be very risky for non-tenured faculty to refuse a chance to publish in Nature, Cell, Phys Rev Letters, etc. You just can't ask them to do that. I see two possible solutions:

1. The TENURED faculty at a significant number of top academic research centers do something like this, but with teeth. They agree that for 3 years, say, they will not publish in non open access journals. As a group, they have enough power to do this and make it matter, and if they do it together I think it could be with minimal damage to their careers. In fact, in the academic community, NOT being a part of the group doing this might hurt your prestige.

2. The same groups of scientists can create new journals and submit their best papers there, so that in a reasonably short time frame these journals become as prestigious as the top closed access journals now.

Ultimately the scientific community holds almost all of the cards here. I expect them to win, just wish they would hurry up. Really annoying when I can't read an article b/c my library doesn't subscribe to that journal.

"More what you'd call 'guidelines' than rules" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40109483)

The best journals require exclusive rights in order to have a paper published. If a UCSF researcher wants to publish in one of those journals, he or she can "opt out" of the open access "requirement."

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