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Why Johnny Can't Speak: a Cost of Paywalled Research

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the i-blame-the-schools dept.

Medicine 189

theodp writes "That there's no easy way for her to get timely, affordable access to taxpayer-funded research that could help her patients leaves speech-language pathologist Cortney Grove, well, speechless. 'Cortney's frustration,' writes the EFF's Adi Kamdar, 'is not uncommon. Much of the research that guides health-related progress is funded by taxpayer dollars through government grants, and yet those who need this information most-practitioners and their patients-cannot afford to access it.' She says, 'In my field we are charged with using scientific evidence to make clinical decisions. Unfortunately, the most pertinent evidence is locked up in the world of academic publishing and I cannot access it without paying upwards of $40 an article. My current research project is not centered around one article, but rather a body of work on a given topic. Accessing all the articles I would like to read will cost me nearly a thousand dollars. So, the sad state of affairs is that I may have to wait 7-10 years for someone to read the information, integrate it with their clinical opinions (biases, agendas, and financial motivations) and publish it in a format I can buy on Amazon. By then, how will my clinical knowledge and skills have changed? How will my clients be served in the meantime? What would I do with the first-hand information that I will not be able to do with the processed, commercialized product that emerges from it in a decade?'"

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Simple (4, Insightful)

bondsbw (888959) | about a year ago | (#45249015)

Taxpayer-funded research should be accessible by taxpayers.

Re:Simple (4, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#45249099)

Taxpayer-funded research should be accessible by taxpayers.

It is, technically. By technically I mean, it was published once, in a 'free' publication, sent to a few libraries, and thus the public access requirement was met. But since you'll never find it there because it isn't indexed, searchable, or in any way known... it's effectively useless. See, once again our shitty co(r)p-y(a)-right system fucks us; They make it so if you assemble a collection of works together into a database, that now counts as a unique and copyrightable work unto itself. So... although the study is 'free' to the public... the "doesn't have to drive 500 miles to a library in the boon docks and find it on a shelf" convenience is what they charge for access.

What we need is a 'google' of science/medical studies. Unfortunately our government's archaic and purposefully not updated methods of publication mean that if you want to get a digital copy... you have to contribute the labor to re-digitalization. Of course, you can get a digital copy... for a small additional processing fee. -_-

Paywalls ... strangulation of scientific progresse (5, Insightful)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year ago | (#45249255)

Whether or not taxpayer-funded research should be accissible to the taxpayers for FREE is a matter to be acertained, but the fact is that it is no longer possible for anyone, including the professional researchers, to know where to find the result of the various facet of related research on a given field.

It is as if we are back to the pre-Internet days.

Before Internet, it was a Herculean task to find out if there had been a research carried out on any particular subject, simply because there was no one central database.

When Internet first arrived, the situation was greatly improved - although there were still no centralized database for all research results, at the very least we could search for it online.

Now ?

Not only the research papers are hidden behind paywalled, most of them don't even appear on search queries anymore.

Paywall does not only representing GREED that is retarding the progress of the human society, it is actually STRANGLING the progress of scientific research.

Re:Paywalls ... strangulation of scientific progre (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45249265)

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Re:Paywalls ... strangulation of scientific progre (2)

pepty (1976012) | about a year ago | (#45249569)

Not only the research papers are hidden behind paywalled, most of them don't even appear on search queries anymore.

Could you elaborate a bit more on that? CAS Scifinder and STN (subscription based services) will get me more granular results than Google Scholar, but I find plenty of paywalled results when I use Google Scholar or PubMed. What is being blocked?

Re:Paywalls ... strangulation of scientific progre (1)

Pino Grigio (2232472) | about a year ago | (#45250217)

I completely agree. Two weeks ago I was looking for a paper and had to pay $35 to read it (actually the company paid, but that's not the point). I felt like I'd been hustled. It definitely does not cost $35 to serve a .PDF on the internet.

Re:Simple (1)

LandDolphin (1202876) | about a year ago | (#45249425)

And if you couldn't charge for the convenience, there would be none.

Re:Simple (5, Informative)

pepty (1976012) | about a year ago | (#45249551)

By technically I mean, it was published once, in a 'free' publication, sent to a few libraries, and thus the public access requirement was met. But since you'll never find it there because it isn't indexed, searchable, or in any way known... it's effectively useless.

What???

The Policy implements Division G, Title II, Section 218 of PL 110-161 (Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008) which states: SEC. 218. The Director of the National Institutes of Health shall require that all investigators funded by the NIH submit or have submitted for them to the National Library of Medicine’s PubMed Central an electronic version of their final peer-reviewed manuscripts upon acceptance for publication, to be made publicly available no later than 12 months after the official date of publication: Provided, That the NIH shall implement the public access policy in a manner consistent with copyright law. The Public Access Policy ensures that the public has access to the published results of NIH-funded research. It requires scientists to submit final peer-reviewed journal manuscripts that arise from NIH funds to the digital archive PubMed Central (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/). The Policy requires that these final peer-reviewed manuscripts be accessible to the public on PubMed Central to help advance science and improve human health.

NIH/ NSF sponsored research published since 2008 is available on Pubmed for free 12 months after it is first published. Most of the rest you can rent from DeepDyve.com for about a buck an article.

Re:Simple (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45249109)

And soon media featuring Elmer Fudd and Sylvester will be banned for demonizing those with speech impediments. A person I knew in the electronics industry is a pathological stutterer and I used to make fun of him by making up raps in his voice and sharing my smooth flows with my co-workers:
 
 


Yo uh-uh-uh I'm the big-boss uh-uh-uh

Yo uh-uh-uh quarterly-loss uh-uh-uh uh-huh uh-huh,

Yo uh-uh-uh solder dross uh-uh return loss uh-uh-uh,

Yo uh-uh-uh was in a spelling-bee and lost uh-uh-uh!

-- Ethanol-fueled

Elmer Fudd speaks dialect (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#45249329)

I don't think of Elmer Fudd as having a speech impediment as much as being a speaker of a nonstandard dialect, one that labializes the /r/ and /l/ sounds. In college, I had a computer science professor from Bulgaria whose /l/ sounded almost like /w/.

Re:Elmer Fudd speaks dialect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45249985)

That would be someone from Pernik, or near by.
There is a relate joke.
        ?
- (dialect for hlyab is web)
How do you call a baker in Pernik?
Web-designer
~badkarmadayaccount

Re:Elmer Fudd speaks dialect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45250001)

Stupid ascii. Run that through translate, you'll get my point.

Re:Simple (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45249365)

Ethanol-fueled, you love niggers dontcha?

Re:Simple (2)

martin-boundary (547041) | about a year ago | (#45249121)

No. It should be accessible to all.

Knowledge is like a road, even though taxpayers funded the building of it, tourists from other countries aren't forbidden to drive on it.

Luckily, there are some hackers out there who understand this, and work hard to unlock journal articles and books so that the whole world can read them.

Re:Simple (4, Informative)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about a year ago | (#45249283)

you mean like adam schwarz? that didn't end well.

Re:Simple (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | about a year ago | (#45249463)

I don't mean Adam. I mean others who do the same around the world, but stay anonymous and somewhat more hidden.

There comes a time when the success of the end goal is more important than the rewards from being known as a champion of the cause. Adam thought it was right to be martyred, he thought copying Rosa Parks' method [wikipedia.org] would bring social change. But change doesn't come from a single person. It comes from unavoidable facts on the ground. To make universal knowledge a reality, it is first necessary to have all books and journals available in torrents and file sharing sites everywhere. When we can all download knowledge as easily as the latest hollywood blockbuster, only *then* can the politicians be convinced to change the laws to agree with what people already expect by that time.

People and politicians have very little imagination. They can't believe a society can flourish with universal knowledge for all. So they have to be shown, first that the world isn't going to be destroyed if knowledge is free, and second that the benefits to society outweigh the benefits to a few corporate leeches of keeping knowledge locked up.

Re:Simple (0)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about a year ago | (#45249537)

who is rose park? is it a korean war thing?

Re:Simple (1)

anubi (640541) | about a year ago | (#45249661)

Rosa Parks, a black person in the state of Alabama in the USA, deliberately disobeyed an order from a bus driver that she had to sit in a section of the bus reserved for black people. This was during a time when race segregation in the Southeast portion of the USA was rampant.

She deliberately defied authority. In front of everybody.

Others saw and her action was a call for others to take action as well... and things changed.

A lot of us are doing this today - just flat defying authority when we perceive the underlying cause is simply not just. Just as in what this topic is discussing... do people have a right to charge for taxpayer funded work?

It is the populace's way of trying to communicate with lawmakers over laws perceived to be unjust - so lawmakers now are faced with trying to enforce the bad law.

Re:Simple (3, Informative)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about a year ago | (#45249763)

i'm pretty sure that ms. parks didn't cause a spontaneous movement. rather, the movement was ready to go, and they chose rosa to make an iconic stand.

Re:Simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45249761)

Please, stop doing LSD.

Re:Simple (1)

BemoanAndMoan (1008829) | about a year ago | (#45250185)

To make universal knowledge a reality, it is first necessary to have all books and journals available in torrents and file sharing sites everywhere. When we can all download knowledge as easily as the latest hollywood blockbuster, only *then* can the politicians be convinced to change the laws to agree with what people already expect by that time.

<sarcasm>Yes, because that's exactly what happened with movies and music.</sarcasm>

And what the hell are "unavoidable facts on the ground". Sounds like you're talking dog shit.

Re: Simple (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | about a year ago | (#45250251)

While change doesn't necessarily come from one person, a single person making a public stand can be sufficient for others to gain courage to do the same. Even it doesn't, it can be enough to get people talking in public and that is a good thing

Re:Simple (1)

slick7 (1703596) | about a year ago | (#45250017)

No. It should be accessible to all.

Knowledge is like a road, even though taxpayers funded the building of it, tourists from other countries aren't forbidden to drive on it.

Luckily, there are some hackers out there who understand this, and work hard to unlock journal articles and books so that the whole world can read them.

It's the new "classified for national security" strategy. It's one thing to keep people from profiting for their efforts, but it's another thing from profiting what was already paid for.

Re:Simple (3, Interesting)

alvinrod (889928) | about a year ago | (#45249123)

It's really as easy as that. If the government funds your research, a minimum requirement should be that it's freely available to anyone who wants it regardless of where else it might be published. It's probably incredibly sad, but I think I probably have more pirated research papers than I do music, movies, or other content. I find it surprising that "free open source" hasn't been widely applied to education in the same way that it has software.

Re:Simple (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45250213)

It's probably incredibly sad, but I think I probably have more pirated research papers than I do music, movies, or other content.

"Back in the day," piracy was the single most common way to distribute scientific research. In fact, I still have three filing cabinets full of articles I xeroxed either from a library or from a fellow researcher. We call it fair use. The modern system is much better - higher quality type and images, fewer dead trees, and no more $0.10/page xerox fees. All NIH funded research is available for free no more than 1 year after publication. see http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=4382101&cid=45249551 [slashdot.org]

Honestly, every time I see one of these "paywalled research is hurting patients" bits on /. I wonder how the submitter, supposedly a health-care expert, has managed to stay ignorant of the 10-year-old requirement for archiving in PubMed Central and the resulting massive trove of free books and journals at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/ [nih.gov]

Re:Simple (3, Interesting)

Slashdot Parent (995749) | about a year ago | (#45249183)

Taxpayer-funded research should be accessible by taxpayers.

Seems publishers would have no problem with that if taxpayers are also prepared to pay the cost of publication.

One of my clients is a "legacy" academic journal publisher. They actually offer an open access publication option for researchers where researchers can pay the publishing costs and have their article available freely online. It's priced lower than the open access journals, by the way. Seems they don't get many takers, though.

Re:Simple (2)

aepervius (535155) | about a year ago | (#45249781)

"Seems publishers would have no problem with that if taxpayers are also prepared to pay the cost of publication."

As learned from the traditional book/eBook publisher, the biggest cost of publication is not the printing, it is the correcting, the formating, and the setting in a correct format. *all* of that is handled during the review, or for the format by the maker of the article. They don't even have to provide advance in money tow rite the article, since the article are given for free. The biggest hurdle might be to organize stuff around like the peer review, but compared to normal publishing this is *nothing* in cost. Now try to compare the cost of a normal book to the cost of *EACH* article online. And try to tell us those cost are for the publishing. That's a big fat lie.

Re:Simple (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45249253)

Sorry, the government has no obligation to you, just like any other common thief. After they steal from you, they are free to do whatever they want with it.

make it so, then (1)

rewindustry (3401253) | about a year ago | (#45249299)

should it not be as simple as a wiki?

if we created the space, would academia not use it?

is it not up to us to resolve this?

if it worked for wikileaks, why would it not work here?

arXiv is not peer reviewed (2)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#45249411)

should it not be as simple as a wiki?

There does exist a site for uploading preprints called arXiv. The difference is that preprints aren't peer reviewed and thus aren't quite as citable in publications that strongly prefer "published sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy".

Re:arXiv is not peer reviewed (2)

gerddie (173963) | about a year ago | (#45250309)

There does exist a site for uploading preprints called arXiv. The difference is that preprints aren't peer reviewed and thus aren't quite as citable in publications that strongly prefer "published sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy".

Actually, in my experience this is not the problem, you can cite whatever you want. Considering this article [frontiersin.org] , such reputation for fact-checking and accuracy does not really exist anyway (i.e. the higher the ranking of a journal, the higher the probability that articles have to be retracted). The real problem is, articles that do not appear in a journal count less or nothing on the authors curriculum, unless you are a genius like Grisha Perelman, who, AFAIK, published the proof of the Poincare conjecture only on arXiv.

Re: Simple (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45249639)

that is clearly communism. we do not want that do we?

LIbrary? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45249037)

see subject

re: Simple (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45249039)

I wholeheartedly agree that Taxpayer-funded research should be accessible by taxpayers.
As a physician, I've found the abstracts of articles that might be useful, but at $35-45 per article, even I can't afford to find out if it will be helpful or not.

NIH has addressed this (5, Insightful)

TXISDude (1171607) | about a year ago | (#45249049)

NIH funded research must be put into PubMed Central, the NIH public portal, within 12 months of publishing in a journal.

Re:NIH has addressed this (2)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year ago | (#45249327)

I don't know the NSF's exact rule, but for the last few years every grant proposal has been required to include a Data Dissemination Plan.

Re:NIH has addressed this (5, Insightful)

nbauman (624611) | about a year ago | (#45249743)

That's right. The journal that Cortney Grove gave as an example, Topics in Language Disorders http://journals.lww.com/topicsinlanguagedisorders/pages/default.aspx [lww.com] , does provide free access to papers funded by NIH, Wellcome Trust and Howard Hughes http://journals.lww.com/topicsinlanguagedisorders/_layouts/oaks.journals/nih.aspx [lww.com]

I feel for her. I've been in the same situation as her and I've made the same arguments. Years ago it was even worse.

That said, I think she's exaggerating the situation somewhat. I think she should have a talk with a good reference librarian in her field.

(I do similar research, not in speech pathology but often in visual pathology, orthopedic handicaps, etc. She may have different needs, but I track down a lot of papers, with varying degrees of success.)

You might want to have access to 100 journals, but nobody reads 100 journals cover to cover. I read a half dozen core journals every week, and I got access to a good database and a few journals through a couple of professional organizations. The New York Public Library has a few good databases online free to its cardholders, and the EBSCO Academic (or whatever they call it) has some good journals too. Every week or so I come across a journal that isn't included, so I email the author, or ask my friends. It used to be easy to get into an academic library, but now that universities are monetizing, it's getting difficult (but not impossible). The public library has all kinds of arrangements for ordering papers from other libraries.

I think I know what Grove is doing. She's reading journal articles, looking at 200 footnotes, and she wants to read the ones that look interesting. I've done it myself. It's the sign (or maybe the vice) of a good scholar.

Just to get an idea of the kind of articles we're talking about, here's one of the free articles in
http://journals.lww.com/topicsinlanguagedisorders/Fulltext/2013/01000/Morphological_Awareness_Intervention_in_School_Age.4.aspx?WT.mc_id=HPxADx20100319xMP [lww.com]

But there's a lot of redundancy. I used to collect a dozen articles, read them, and they all seemed to be saying about the same thing. A review article in the New England Journal of Medicine is about the same as a review article in The Lancet. If you've read one, you don't have to read the other (or the other six). If you can't read it in Topics in Language Disorders, you can probably read it in another dozen journals.

So (since she's not doing research in an academic institution) she probably doesn't need 100 articles. She needs a professor or librarian or somebody to steer her through the literature and give her a half dozen articles that she should read.

It's also an exaggeration to say that her clients won't get the benefit of the latest research. A practicing clinical speech therapist doesn't have to follow the basic research and theoretical arguments in the academic journals (although it's nice, and it's the sign of a good practitioner). You should be treating people according to consensus statements and guidelines. A lot of the latest stuff turns out to be wrong.

You should find everything you need for clinical practice in a half a dozen core journals and a few professional meetings. If you want to be up to date, you have to take continuing education -- no way out of it. And the people who give continuing education courses can guide you through the literature.

But if she takes the current research that seriously, she should have some academic affiliation, which would also give her library access. Admittedly, some charge exorbitant fees. But some universities used to give free library access to their alumnae, and even if they do charge it's probably the cheapest.

There are also colleges that teach speech pathology, that have small libraries with good specialized collections that would be likely to have everything you need.

I basically agree with her, though. If you want good speech pathologists, give them access to the literature they need.

I will now beat my own dead horse -- public libraries.

We used to have a pretty good public library system in New York City. The central reference was open from 9am to 10pm, every day of the week (91 hours), except for New Years' and Christmas. You could get a good basic collection of scientific and medical journals. Unfortunately the Giuliani and Bloomberg years haven't been very good for public libraries. In their new science library, they spent more money on marble than they did on books. But most of all they reduced the hours, and moved librarians around to fill the shifts, so that you'll find a children's librarian running the reference collection, etc. The science library is now open 51 hours a week (no Sundays). This is what you get when libraries are run by billionaire real estate developers who want their names on a building rather than people who read books there and pay taxes.

If Grove went to a good public library, she could get most of what she needed. I don't know how the Chicago libraries are doing now. Good luck with Rahm Emanuel.

Re:NIH has addressed this (4, Interesting)

Theleton (1688778) | about a year ago | (#45250089)

That said, I think she's exaggerating the situation somewhat. I think she should have a talk with a good reference librarian in her field.

There's another approach as well, though it's probably more for researchers than practitioners: just ask the authors to send you a copy of the article. It's not like they get royalties from the publisher, so they don't care whether you pay or not. They just want to get their research out there. Plus, every researcher who reads it is someone who might cite it, which they do care about.

Corporations (4, Insightful)

cphilo (768807) | about a year ago | (#45249061)

The United States has become a nation of public financing and private profits.

Re:Corporations (1)

Bite The Pillow (3087109) | about a year ago | (#45249577)

I was going to post, without citation, quotes of Andrew Ryan. Then I thought, "That is exactly what the parasite wants of me."

So I wait, to see which way the wind is blowing, and which side my bread is buttered on.

Ever hear of the university library? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45249063)

A good science/engineering university library subscribes to hundreds of technical journals and keeps them in stacks going back decades.

Oh, but who has time to go there, find a place to park and then run around the stacks...?

Sometimes, you have to make sacrifices for your career instead of always whining about how things should be made better just for you. The journals charge money because they incur substantial expenses for providing an important service.

Having worked for a Springer journal, (5, Informative)

aussersterne (212916) | about a year ago | (#45249179)

as a managing editor, I can tell you that they do not incur substantial expenses, and that academics provide the important parts of the service, essentially for free in the cases of most journals. It's not like putting out a magazine; we didn't even have copy or layout editors for our journal, the most inexpensive components of editorial labor. It paid the university department that hosted the journal a mere thousands (single digits) per year. There were two "paid" staffers—myself and one other person, The rest of the "editorial board" consisted of faculty of our and another several universities doing the work for free, under the auspices of the "professional duties" of the academics involved (not as paid by Springer, as paid by their respective institutions). Peer reviewers—free. Editorial labor (copy, layout to production files according to specs, submissions queue, even rough line editing, style work)—graduate students looking for a title to add to their emerging CVs.

Essentially Springer's total cost for putting out the journal amounted to the several thousand (again, single digit thousands, split between myself and one other individual) that they (usually belatedly) paid our department annually for the entire journal in its substance, plus printing/distribution (a pittance given the circulation size of academic journals and the cost per print subscription—not to mention the increasing number of electronic-only subscriptions). They had one liason that handled our entire "account," and the level of labor involved allowed this person to be "over" several _dozen_ journals as just a single person. That's as much a labor footprint, in its entirety, as our journal actually had inside the "publisher."

And for this, they held onto the reprint/reuse rights with an iron fist, requiring even authors and PIs to pay $$$ to post significant excerpts on their own blogs.

Seeing the direction the wind has been blowing over the last half-decade, the department decided (and rightfully so) that it's basically a scam, that academic publishing as we know it need not exist any longer, and wound down both the print journal and the relationship with Springer several years ago, instead self-publishing the journal (which is easy these days) to much higher revenue for the department, and the ability to sensibly manage rights in the interest of academic production and values, rather than in the interest of Springer's oinking at the trough on the backs of academics.

Oh, and many university libraries (particularly in urban areas) do not admit just anyone off the street; you must generally hold an ID that grants access to the library (often student or faculty, plus a paid option for the general public, either monthly or annually, that can vary from somewhat affordable to somewhat expensive). Not to mention that for many people, yes, it is a significant professional hardship to lose a day or two of work to be trekking into foreign territory and sitting amongst the stacks—and that this hardship is made much more irritable by the fact that the very same articles are sitting there online, in 2013, yet can't be accessed at reasonable cost.

As an academic, I have the same frustration. We bemoan the state of science in this society, yet under the existing publishing model we essentially insure that only a rarefied few scientists and the very wealthy elite have access to science at all. $30-$60 is not a small amount for the average person—and that is the cost to read _one_ article, usually very narrowly focused, and of unclear utility until they've already paid the money, that is borderline unreadable for the layperson (or for the magazine author hoping to make sense of science _for_ the layperson) anyway. Why, exactly, would we expect anyone to know any science at all beyond university walls, under this arrangement?

Two further things— (1)

aussersterne (212916) | about a year ago | (#45249201)

"irritating," not "irritable," my apologies for the misuse of the word (it's late where I am); and I should note that the department had to change the name of the journal and all of its graphics as they brought it entirely in-house and severed the Springer relationship, since Springer held the rights to everything, including all past issues, meaning that the new journal is just that—a clean slate, post-Springer (and good riddance).

Re:Having worked for a Springer journal, (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45249917)

Thanks for your insight. As a scientist myself, I would like to see the scientific societies being more active in promoting open access publishing. There are some like the American Chemical Society and the British Institute of Physics who are providing credible alternatives to the journal robber barons, but more is needed from the other side. If some of the major scientific societies started asking their members to publish in recommended open access journals (there are a lot of junk journals out there right now and it takes some effort to figure out if a journal is at all respectable), while at the same time asking them to refuse to referee for paid journals, then this publishing revolution would very quickly come to a satisfying conclusion.

Re:Having worked for a Springer journal, (1)

Theleton (1688778) | about a year ago | (#45250065)

Having worked for a Springer journal as a managing editor, I can tell you that they do not incur substantial expense

Mark Lieberman, a linguist and advocate for open access publishing, disagrees [upenn.edu] :

There are some non-trivial anti-open-access arguments. For example, there are non-zero costs associated with editing and managing a journal, which are on the order of $1,000 per published paper.
...
I've gotten versions of this order-of-magnitude number from several different types of sources, ranging from Matt Cockerill at BioMedCentral to Steven Bird at ACL. There remains a fair amount of labor beyond basic editorial and refereeing activities: copy editing, format hacking, permissions clearance, web site administration, bookkeeping, general secretarial and administrative functions. If you can get all of that done by volunteers -- or if you don't do it at all -- then the costs obviously go down. But note that we're not talking about a lot of money -- for a small journal, it's far below the cost of hiring even one professional employee.

Here's an example where I know some of the details. In 2012, Computational Linguistics published about 24 articles -- at $1000 each, that would be $24,000. In fact, through 2010 the ACL paid MIT Press $45-50k per year for copyediting, proofreading, typesetting, web hosting, marketing, handling of rights & permissions. In 2011, MIT Press introduced a LaTeX-aware copy editor, and reduced their changes to about $28k/year. In addition to these costs, there used to be a part time editorial assistant, typically a grad student, who was paid $15k/year. I believe that in 2011 that position was eliminated in favor of the OJS web-based manuscript management system; but not all journals can count on their editor being able or willing to install and maintain such a software package on a volunteer basis. So the out-of-pocket costs in 2012 were either $28k or $43k, which in either case is greater than 24*$1k. (In fact, CL does not charge author fees, but rather funds the enterprise from membership dues.)

24 articles/year seems like a small number to me, but even a journal that published ten times that number of articles would still end up with costs of $100/article under this system. You don't need to charge a lot per download to pay for that (assuming >1 person wants to read each article), but if you give them away for free you need to find the money somewhere else.

Re:Ever hear of the university library? (4, Informative)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year ago | (#45249331)

A good science/engineering university library subscribes to hundreds of technical journals and keeps them in stacks going back decades.

Lots of universities simply can't afford all the journals they ought to have.

Re:Ever hear of the university library? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45249617)

that's horribly inefficient. you can't tell from an abstract whether a paper will be valuable. and alumni don't necessarily live in the same city as their alma mater. you can't just walk into stacks at the universities I have visited

Re:Ever hear of the university library? (2, Informative)

nbauman (624611) | about a year ago | (#45249779)

A good science/engineering university library subscribes to hundreds of technical journals and keeps them in stacks going back decades.

Oh, but who has time to go there, find a place to park and then run around the stacks...?

Sometimes, you have to make sacrifices for your career instead of always whining about how things should be made better just for you. The journals charge money because they incur substantial expenses for providing an important service.

I went through that bullshit of trying to get access to university libraries.

First of all (at least in New York City), university libraries aren't open to the public. They charge their own students a $2,000 library fee so they don't let outsiders in for free.

Second, even when I did pull strings to get special accommodations to use a library on a guest basis, it was basically a day's work to look things up in the stacks when everybody else is getting them in 5 minutes online (as I do now with access to some academic databases).

Sometimes you have to find out what's going on in reality before you give sermons accusing people of "whining" when they're raising legitimate questions about what's being done with their tax money.

Your misinformation about journals is addressed here by somebody else.

Could US Attorney Carmen Ortiz Help Her? (1, Insightful)

theodp (442580) | about a year ago | (#45249075)

JSTOR an Entitlement For US DoJ's Ortiz & Holder [slashdot.org] : "If Aaron Swartz downloaded JSTOR documents without paying for them, it would presumably be considered a crime by the USDOJ. But if U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz or U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder did the same? Rather than a crime, it would be considered their entitlement, a perk of an elite education that's paid for by their alma maters."

Re:Could US Attorney Carmen Ortiz Help Her? (2)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year ago | (#45249177)

No, no, no: Swartz was able to download JSTOR articles at all because, as a research fellow at MIT, he had the exact same kind of access agreement. All he did was scrape stuff from the JSTOR site using that access. The submitter was wrong to write that portion of the summary.

...and at any rate, (most) NIH-funded research must become publicly accessible via PubMed Central within 12 months of publication [nih.gov] , so this, too, is something of a non-story. Paywalls aren't quite as thorough (or elite) as we sometimes think.

Re:Could US Attorney Carmen Ortiz Help Her? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45249335)

He wasn't a research fellow at MIT, he was a research fellow at Harvard. He trespassed onto the MIT campus to abuse their open network because he didn't want to get caught.

Re:Could US Attorney Carmen Ortiz Help Her? (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year ago | (#45249397)

...ah, snap. Still, Ortiz and Holder wouldn't be any better off than Swartz doing the same via Harvard. The key point is that he had legitimate access.

Useful information sometimes costs money (-1, Troll)

C R Johnson (141) | about a year ago | (#45249093)

$1000 does not sound like all that much for a professional with paying clients.

Re:Useful information sometimes costs money (2)

theodp (442580) | about a year ago | (#45249175)

She does explain that the problem is there's no guarantee that any of this information will be useful ("Topics in Language Disorders, for example, has a $122 subscription for four issues. But there's no guarantee that the articles I'll get in the four issues next year will be useful for me-and that's just one journal!"), and goes on to suggest she'd consider shelling out thousands for unfettered access, but that's not an option ("Even if I had to pay an acceptable yearly fee-if for $300 a month I could access everything-that would be better than how it is today).

Re:Useful information sometimes costs money (-1, Flamebait)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about a year ago | (#45249605)

That's what I came here to say. Why do people think that, once they start a business, they're never going to have another business related expense beyond the initial startup costs? Or they think that, once they get their degree, there will never be any need to add to their host of knowledge or invest another penny in ongoing training and education? "They didn't serve it up on a silver platter and I'm not gonna work to get it."

This is what separates people who run a speech therapy foundation from the speech therapist with a 200 square foot office in strip mall between the massage parlor and the liquor store.

I believe the intent... (4, Informative)

tlambert (566799) | about a year ago | (#45249101)

I believe the intent... is that all healthcare practitioners do not have private practices, but are instead employed by large healthcare conglomerates like Connecticut Life, United Healthcare, etc., and that those conglomerates have online access to the journals from their networks.

As long as you do not hang out your own shingle, and remain a wage-slave to a large corporation, you will have no problem accessing the necessary publications.

Re:I believe the intent... (1)

fermion (181285) | about a year ago | (#45249319)

This is certainly hyperbole. Conglomerates are not the only ones with libraries. Many doctors are affiliated with universities which also have libraries.They could hire a student part time with the explicit intent of raiding the library. When I was a student I would do this. In most cases if a library does not have the article, ILL will get it.

In any case the example used in the submission is silly. The speech pathologists is complaining that the articles to do the job costs $1000. I make less than a speech pathologist and I easily spend $1000 a year making sure that I am up to date so that I can keep my job. It is like a few percent of my income. Expenses have to be put in context. If you are billing $100 a patient to medicare, and seeing 10-15 patients a day, it is out of line to expect some of that to be used for professional development?

That is not to say that journal costs are getting out of line. If some one is doing real science, and is trying to do so on a budget, journal costs can get out of line. Preprint federally funded research should be available online for little or not cost. Everything possible should be done to reduce the costs of professional journals to libraries. There are many things that can and should be done.

But an alleged professional whining that they get charged for a valuable product when they charge large amounts for their services, that is just silly.

A better example, and real problem, are those working in less developed countries in which the resources are actually taxed, and science, even medicine, is extremely strained because in some cases journal costs do actually provide a significant road block to possible innovation.In some cases journals are given free or at greatly reduced costs to those countries. Even so, the problems is not going to fixed until we have free rapid communications of peer reviewed articles.

Re:I believe the intent... (1)

tlambert (566799) | about a year ago | (#45249839)

In any case the example used in the submission is silly. The speech pathologists is complaining that the articles to do the job costs $1000. I make less than a speech pathologist and I easily spend $1000 a year making sure that I am up to date so that I can keep my job. It is like a few percent of my income. Expenses have to be put in context. If you are billing $100 a patient to medicare, and seeing 10-15 patients a day, it is out of line to expect some of that to be used for professional development?

Depends. What if she only wants to access articles which are applicable to her private practice, and which don't suck? If the article, which she can't read until she pays for it, fails to meet either of those criteria, does she get a refund?

Preprint federally funded research should be available online for little or not cost.

No cost; the cost has already been borne by the tax paying public who paid for the research; what's happening with these journals is that the researcher is double-dipping: once at the public trough, and a second time at the journal trough.

But an alleged professional whining that they get charged for a valuable product when they charge large amounts for their services, that is just silly.

As is calling publicly funded research a "product" which can be sold for money beyond the public funding which has already funded the science and the creation of the article describing it. Again: double dipping. This is in effect defrauding of the public paying for the research.

A better example, and real problem, are those working in less developed countries in which the resources are actually taxed, and science, even medicine, is extremely strained because in some cases journal costs do actually provide a significant road block to possible innovation.

Here we disagree. Why should the countries willing to bear the costs of the research benefit for free the countries who are too busy oppressing their own people for all but the oppressors to benefit from said research?

Do you think there will be a sudden influx of HIV drugs in Haiti or general medical care in Angola, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Côte d'Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of Congo, or Zimbabwe for the people enslaved to mine conflict diamonds, or food in Ethiopia, where the corrupt government would rather let food rot on the docks than go to the majority of the countries people who oppose those governments?

Better that the oppressors not get as good medical care, the better that they die out faster, and that we embargo everything to those countries that the government embargos from their opposition.

Re:I believe the intent... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45250299)

Preprint federally funded research should be available online for little or not cost.

No cost; the cost has already been borne by the tax paying public who paid for the research; what's happening with these journals is that the researcher is double-dipping: once at the public trough, and a second time at the journal trough.

NIH funded publications are all available at no cost, no more than 1 year after initial publication at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/ [nih.gov]

Healthcare is a conservative field that does not change the standards of care rapidly (for good reason). For a provider to flit from new idea to newest idea every four weeks is irresponsible.

But an alleged professional whining that they get charged for a valuable product when they charge large amounts for their services, that is just silly.

As is calling publicly funded research a "product" which can be sold for money beyond the public funding which has already funded the science and the creation of the article describing it. Again: double dipping. This is in effect defrauding of the public paying for the research.

What is really silly is an alleged professional being unaware of the existence of PubMed Central or disingenuously pretending that the fastest way to get affordable access to current research is to wait 8 years for it to show up in a $200 textbook. Don't get me wrong: the current publishing infrastructure is a hold-over from bygone days of paper, and the academic world would do well for the journals to separate from their historical publishers, but NIH has done a great job of opening access to federally funded biomedical research. Many of the journals have even taken the further step of opening their whole archives (although a depressing number of them still paywall anything older than 1997).

Libraries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45249119)

In the article, Cortney Grove says, "Some people told me to go to the local medical school library and download the articles from there. I don't know if it's feasible for me to go to a library of a school I don't go to!"

Instead of moaning and groaning, why doesn't Ms Grove find out? Ten minutes on the phone should allow her to determine whether it's feasible to go to a library of a school in which she isn't enrolled.

Re:Libraries (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45249163)

I just checked worldcat.org. There are at least six libraries in the Chicago area with subscriptions to Topics in Language Disorders, one of the publications to which Ms. Grove wants access. I suggest she get on the phone, find out which libraries she can access, then spend a Saturday morning in one of those libraries.

She will have to find out more than this. (1)

aussersterne (212916) | about a year ago | (#45249231)

She will have to find out:

1) Which libraries have _print_ as opposed to _electronic only_ subscriptions, and
2) Amongst those that do not (I'm guessing the majority), which allow access to electronic resources by non-students/non-faculty (this kind of access is expressly forbidden, at any cost, by many subscription packages offered to universities).

Even if she is able to identify a library that offers non-affiliated individuals access, she will have to pony up whatever the cost of access for the public to the library is, and then, at that stage, she will have access to _one_ journal. It is unlikely that all of the resources that she needs are to be found in that _one_ journal, and much more likely that relevant material is published in several or even several dozen journals, in which case all she has to do is grill library personnel for 20-30 minutes with a detailed list in each phone call, and likely pony up the access fees (and the transportation, and the saturday mornings) to jump around from one library to another on a wild goose chase over many weeks to piece together the materials that an academic can assemble over a cup of coffee without leaving their screen. Just who, pray, are the academics producing their research _for_? Surely those who might actually be able to use it practically?

All of this stuff can technically be accessed from her office, too, in the space of 10 minutes, but for the profit-oriented restrictions (that do not reflect costs, see my previous post) imposed by journal "publishers."

Re:She will have to find out more than this. (1)

zippthorne (748122) | about a year ago | (#45249347)

Does inter-library loan no longer work the way it used to - libraries which don't have access to a journal get a photocopy of a specific article requested delivered from libraries that do?

Re:She will have to find out more than this. (2)

aussersterne (212916) | about a year ago | (#45249421)

I actually don't know. I have the luxury of having institutional access to a full range of print and electronic subscriptions. But even if they do, think about what you're asking a busy professional to do.

People are suggesting that she should just pony up $thousands annually, that she should dedicate days to travel and research, as apart from patients or family, when there's no necessary technical reason to do so, and now, with ILL, that she should stick to a research project about a case or two for the many weeks that it takes to make ILL work.

Sure, there's ILL, and it may well work as it used to (though I doubt it for electronic resources, based on the ways that licenses right now are written). But we're asking her to stick to a project for $thousands and $weeks of constant attention. She's a professional. She is busy. And she ought to have access. The point is not to ask, "can it, plausibly, be done?" but rather "what is science for, and is this the way that it ought to work?"

We made society, as human beings. We can make it better. I'd suggest that this is a case in which it can be made to function much, much better than it currently does. The goal behind having therapists of all stripes is to help people to overcome real problems, not to test the therapists to see whether or not they can navigate arcane social structures and processes. We should make their jobs as easy as possible. Hell, this applies to virtually every job title. Jobs exist for a reason—because there is demand for what they do, because we value it. Why not, then, make the jobs of professionals as plausible and as easy as possible, rather than risking their doing a much worse job simply so that a few corporations that produce little of value (the value in academic publishing is produced by the academics and the researchers, not by the publishers in the era of easy print-on-demand and easy online access) can earn a decent chunk of change.

Re: She will have to find out more than this. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45249591)

Everyone is suggesting EITHER she spend ~1000bux OR get up off her ass and go read a dead tree. She's going to be charging her patients $thouthands (and doesn't mind that she's using old info to do it either), she can do some leg work or spend some cash. I also don't see her mentioning that she's not going to put her paper behind the same paywall either. Bottom line is, 1000bux amortized over a year is nothing for a professional, this is someone being both cheap, lazy, and hardly professional.

Re:She will have to find out more than this. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45249735)

She will have to find out: Which libraries have _print_ as opposed to _electronic only_ subscriptions,

That's not a big deal. That information is available in worldcat.org, just a couple of mouse clicks away.

she has to do is grill library personnel for 20-30 minutes with a detailed list in each phone call

No, that information is available in worldcat.org too.

join a university (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45249153)

Become a research partner with a university find a collaborator or take a class and you'll have access to all those papers at a reduced price.

What Happened? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45249171)

Did most of the punctuation get stuck behind a paywall?

Libraries (2)

TubeSteak (669689) | about a year ago | (#45249213)

Nothing yet. I ended up emailing a professor of mine from school, and I'm waiting to hear back from her, while at the same time asking her, "Is there a more reasonable way for me to do this?"

Some people told me to go to the local medical school library and download the articles from there. I don't know if it's feasible for me to go to a library of a school I don't go to! And at the moment, I don't really know any students who I could ask.

That should have been the entire article right there.

Almost all specialty libraries I've heard of offer visitor access or special (paid) access to professionals in affiliated fields.
It sounds like this Doctor didn't put a lot of effort into trying to find a way around the pay wall.

I just checked the websites of Medical School libraries in my State and neighboring States,
they almost all have a way for people unaffiliated with the school to gain onsite access.
/Though one requires an annual membership and charges extortionist prices for photocopying articles.

Re:Libraries (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45249323)

3rd parties can sign up for library card at a university. You get almost all the journals at a tiny fraction of the cost - the price of library card.

About photocopying, who cares? Either read the paper on site (if not available in electronic format), or just photograph it with your phone or something then turn that into PDF. Or take notes.

Re:Libraries (4, Informative)

nbauman (624611) | about a year ago | (#45249805)

That should have been the entire article right there.

Almost all specialty libraries I've heard of offer visitor access or special (paid) access to professionals in affiliated fields.
It sounds like this Doctor didn't put a lot of effort into trying to find a way around the pay wall.

I just checked the websites of Medical School libraries in my State and neighboring States,
they almost all have a way for people unaffiliated with the school to gain onsite access. /Though one requires an annual membership and charges extortionist prices for photocopying articles.

I've been through that in New York City. Most of the medical school libraries in Manhattan don't allow public access. One of them offered to let me use their library for about $2,000 a year. It's a real problem.

If you actually tried to do it, rather than just looking at their web site, I think you'd find it was difficult to impossible. Unless you happened to find a small friendly library that had everything you needed.

If you don't like the game, change the rules (2)

onyxruby (118189) | about a year ago | (#45249221)

If you don't like the fact that the current journals charge the rates that they do you have to take your research to a new journal that doesn't. When enough people do this the present journals will change their policies or be left out of the market.

Right now your trying to be the tail that wagged the dog. Stop being the tail and start realizing that there are far more academics than journals and organize a new journal. With the Internet it is absurdly easy to communicate with like kind peers and set up a self publishing site for very little money.

At some point you have to realize that the journals need the academics more than the academics need the journals. A small number of professional journals are holding up millions of academics. Stop being the tail, start being the dog.

Re:If you don't like the game, change the rules (5, Informative)

paiute (550198) | about a year ago | (#45249289)

If you don't like the fact that the current journals charge the rates that they do you have to take your research to a new journal that doesn't.

What is the incentive for me to do this if I am an academic who is trying to get tenure or move to a better position at another university or compete for grants? The major ammunition in the CV of anyone trying to do these things is publications in big name journals.

Re:If you don't like the game, change the rules (1)

onyxruby (118189) | about a year ago | (#45249315)

That attitude is why the journals continue to extort large amounts of money. Until academics are willing to put common sense ahead of prestige the problem will continue.

Re:If you don't like the game, change the rules (1)

zippthorne (748122) | about a year ago | (#45249351)

Who makes the hiring decisions? If it's other academics who also feel the same way about the paid journals.... there's your problem.

Re:If you don't like the game, change the rules (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45249361)

Until academics are willing to put common sense ahead of prestige

Never. Going. To. Happen.

Academia is a popularity contest. Prestige is the only thing that matters. The only thing. Actual research is a wholly unintended side effect of academia. Only naive fools even attempt real research and inevitably fail. Savvy academics spend entire careers writing literature reviews, in other words republishing others' words. Truly dedicated academics literally resort to literal cocksucking to get ahead.

Re:If you don't like the game, change the rules (1)

docmordin (2654319) | about a year ago | (#45249475)

Actual research is a wholly unintended side effect of academia. Only naive fools even attempt real research and inevitably fail.

Come tomorrow, I guess I should stop by the Department Chair's office and let him know that he should revoke my endowed scholar position, let alone the positions of my colleagues, as we're all apparently fools.

Re:If you don't like the game, change the rules (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45249511)

You don't have tenure, do you?

Re:If you don't like the game, change the rules (1)

pepty (1976012) | about a year ago | (#45249607)

Until academics are willing to put common sense ahead of prestige

Never. Going. To. Happen.

Already.Has.Happened.

http://thecostofknowledge.com/

Over 13000 scientists joined a boycott of Elsevier last year. Also back in 2010 the University of California threatened a boycott of Nature journals over their subscription prices and managed to haggle them down.

Re:If you don't like the game, change the rules (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45249657)

Big Johnny threatened to boycott Cocksuckers Weekly because he was low on grant money after feeding his crack habit and paying some grad students to do his work for him, but he really really needed his weekly subscription to the rag that tells him whose cocks need sucking this week? That's so adorable! Give Big Johnny an honorarium, he earned it!!

capitalism in action (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45249237)

You want research? You pay for it. You can't afford it? Get a job, hippie scum. We didn't fight and win a war against the commies to give away research for free. You want research for free? Take your freeloading hippie pinko commie ass back to commieland, traitor. Long live capitalism. God bless the USofA, where freedom isn't free.

Re:capitalism in action (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#45249459)

I paid for much of the research with tax money. Why must I pay again to read it?

Re:capitalism in action (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45249571)

Because, dear freeloader, you did not pay for the research. You paid taxes you owed to your government. Your taxes paid for policemen, trees, and sunshine. If you want more for your money, feel free to petition your government to raise your taxes.

Re: capitalism in action (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45249655)

Unfortunately, even in commie land, which is pretty cool (we have gov't cheese and beer), the USofA finds a way to profit off the proletariat. Recall if you will Tetris, the game EA, SEGA, Nintendo, Atari, and countless others made millions on. Care to guess how much money the author made? (Hint: It's a whole lot of nothing.)

Re: capitalism in action (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45249715)

I remember Tetris! I never paid for it either! Only rich capitalist pigs paid for Tetris!

Who's Johnny? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45249345)

TFS talks about a Cortney Grove, but who's Johnny?

State + Corporations = Facism (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45249391)

Privatize the profits and socialize the costs. Hey, it worked for Wall street. Do tax payers receive a dividend when bailed out banks turn a profit? Not fucking likely. Do the CEOs have their wages garnisheed for the bailouts on their watch? Again, not fucking likely. Yet these people are still convinced they built the log cabin they were born in.

Academia doesn't care about the sick (1)

atari2600a (1892574) | about a year ago | (#45249519)

Welcome to die!

Who is this poster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45249529)

Who are you? Where in the F are you going to school that you don't have access to a research database that has all and more of the articles you need? Look, I agree: The situation is fuk'd. Any and every American should have access to any research that had even 1 cent of of taxpayer dollars involved in its production. However, I'm suspicious of this article, because even Phoenix University students have access to the majority of EBSCO's journals. I've casually searched around on that DB and come across articles relevant to your topic. Moreover, I've specifically searched for topics that should have nothing at all to do with speech therapy, and yet every now and then I find one mixed in for no apparent reason. There are a ton of articles in that realm.

I tend to run liberal, so why I am so incensed by your post? Is it, perhaps, because you start with an incendiary statement about how a group of terribly, unfairly unfortunate people (those who need speech therapy) are being kept from easy solutions to their problems, simply because of greedy profiteers . . . and yet somehow never explicitly state what amazing solution it is they are being kept from?

Actually, no, it's because IF you are actually as smart as the person who wrote this piece and IF you are actually in school and IF you are actually working on a dissertation, then you are either in the worst fucking school I've ever heard of and too stupid to realize it, or you are someone who is manipulating people by playing upon their good-natured desire to help those less fortunate. Why you would do such a thing baffles me. Whoever you are, please stop being either a.) such an asshole or b.) such a whiny, self-sabotaging muck-about.

There's another way... (2)

Kazoo the Clown (644526) | about a year ago | (#45249549)

It's been my experience that access to non-US journals may not be so restricted. I've found relevant articles in UK journals for instance that aren't paywalled when the equivalent US journals were. Not all countries or scientific organizations are as greedy as they often seem to be in the U S. Unfortunately, you may have to find a translator or wing it with translation software if it's not an english-language source, but at least there are a few alternatives out there. And if you're a scientist in the US, you may be able to submit your papers to non-paywalled sources, possibly in addition to the paywalled ones, or host the papers on your own website, etc., making them more accessible. Paywalled sources are not the only game out there, you may just have to dig a little more.

Re:There's another way... (1)

nashv (1479253) | about a year ago | (#45250257)

Firstly, this is not a US-specific problem. Elsevier for example, is Dutch, while the Nature publishing group is UK-based.

Secondly, the problem is not inability to publish in non-paywalled sources like hosting your own website. The problem is that in order to obtain significant recognition of your work even in a narrow field, the journal makes a huge difference. This is why journals such as Nature, Science, and Cell have impact factors in the mid-30s.

Despite the discussion here , every academic knows these journals are not charging for their editorial service or hosting service. They are charging for the brand. In the same way that the $10 sneakers in Vietnam cost $70 when the Nike tick-mark appears on them. The brand has been built because significant discoveries in the past have been published in these journals, making it a self-perpetuating cycle.

The only way the cycle breaks is if all public-funded research is made mandatorily open-access by legislation, or if the scientific community as a whole boycotts paywalled journals. Guess which one will be easier to manifest?

Never mind (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45249565)

Ignore my post about who could be such a stupid fucking student. It's not. It's a cheap practitioner with too high of an opinion of herself coupled with the EFF's increasingly exaggerated and ridiculous reporting. I get that you're driving a heard of morons, EFF, but did you really have to sell your soul so quickly and cheaply?

Just Ask (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45249837)

As a second year PhD candidate without access to every journal article that interests me, I've found that simply looking up one of the author's email address (usually published on their university webpage) and asking for a copy of the article works quite well. Every author likes it when someone shows interest in their work and as it can also lead to more citations, there's no reason for them to refuse. It might be a pain to do when you need a few hundred articles, but I would expect that most if not all of the authors would have a pdf attached to their reply.

C'mon! Paid scientific articles are OVER! (1)

korbulon (2792438) | about a year ago | (#45249929)

Most of the material I need to look up is fairly recent and therefore available via preprint archives. Also it is fairly easy to contact authors directly to ask questions, and have colleagues in parts of the world with access to the paid stuff. Basically Springer and their ilk are very much on the wrong side of history. They're dead in the water and all their activity from now on is basically trying to die, not with dignity, but with disgrace, leeching off as much money as can be had before the inevitable demise.

I may have to wait 7-10 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45250023)

Consider your peer in a developing country, they'll have to wait

* Forever. (trade secret)

* 70-160 years. (copyright term)

* 20 years. (patent term)

These seem way too long to me.

solutions (1)

leehwtsohg (618675) | about a year ago | (#45250045)

go to a library, or look up the articles and e-Mail the authors for reprints.

simple answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45250123)

quit voting for assclowns

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Academic co-dependency (3, Insightful)

dstates (629350) | about a year ago | (#45250269)

The proprietary publishers have established an elaborate co-dependency relationship with academics. Academics depend on journal editorships and citations for promotion. Editors get many perks and prestige as a result of being an editor, but the selection of who becomes the editor is up to the publisher. Reviewers get pre-publication access to results. Yes, the reviewers are supposed to hold the information in confidence, but does pre-publication access help them in thinking about which directions to take in their own work? Absolutely. An extensive web of co-dependence has evolved between the proprietary publishers and the academic community.

Academics generally do not receive royalties from journal articles, but they do from book publications. Who publishes those books? The same publishers that publish the proprietary journals. Who selects which authors will be invited to publish books? The publishers.

Elite institutions and large university systems negotiate discounted and preferred subscription agreements giving their researchers free access to a wide range of journals, which in turn makes it more attractive for academic "stars" to go to those institutions. The faculty at those schools benefit from these favorable access agreements. Are we surprised that University of California faculty voted against open access?

It is also not just speech and language research. The majority of work in fields like cancer research is also published in paywalled journals. Cancer patients may not be able to wait a year before articles appear in open access archives.

The vast majority of academic work is supported by public funding, and charitable foundations support most of what is not government supported. High time to require open access. The academics are not going to do it themselves.

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