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Libraries Defend Open Access

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the we-already-paid-for-it-once dept.

Censorship 116

aisaac writes "Earlier this year an article in Nature (PDF, subscription required) exposed publishers' plans to equate public access to federally funded research with government censorship and the destruction of peer review. In an open letter last month, Rockefeller University Press castigated the publishers' sock-puppet outfit, PRISM, for using distorting rhetoric in a coordinated PR attack on open access. Now the Association of Research Libraries has released an Issue Brief addressing this PR campaign in more detail. The Issue Brief exposes some of the distortions used to persuade key policy makers that recent gains made by open access scientific publishing pose a danger to peer reviewed scientific research, free markets, and possibly the future of western civilization. As an example of what the publishers backing PRISM hate, consider the wonderfully successful grants policy of the National Institutes of Health, which requires papers based on grant-funded research to be published in PubMed Central."

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116 comments

it has to be said (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20527137)

Day 1

Mommy, I am only 8 inches long, but I have all my organs. I love the sound of your voice. Every time I hear it, I wave my arms and legs. The sound of your heart beat is my favorite lullaby.

Day 2

Mommy, today I learned how to suck my thumb. If you could see me, you could definitely tell that I am a baby. I'm not big enough to survive outside my home though. It is so nice and warm in here.

Day 3

You know what Mommy, I'm a girl!! I hope that makes you happy. I always want you to be happy. I don't like it when you cry. You sound so sad. It makes me sad too, and I cry with you even though you can't hear me.

Day 4

Mommy, my hair is starting to grow. It is very short and fine, but I will have a lot of it. I spend a lot of my time exercising. I can turn my head and curl my fingers and toes, and stretch my arms and legs. I am becoming quite good at it too.

Day 5

You went to the doctor today. Mommy, he lied to you. He said that I'm not a baby. I am a baby Mommy, your baby. I think and feel. Mommy, what's abortion?

Day 6

I can hear that doctor again. I don't like him. He seems cold and heartless. Something is intruding my home. The doctor called it a needle. Mommy what is it? It burns! Please make him stop! I can't get away from it! Mommy!! HELP me!! No . . .

Day 7

Mommy, I am okay. I am in Jesus's arms. he is holding me. He told me about abortion. Why didn't you want me Mommy?

One more heart that was stopped. Two more eyes that will never see. Two more hands that will never touch. Two more legs that will never run. One more mouth that will never speak.

REPOST THIS IF U HATE ABORTION

Re:it has to be said (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20527169)

If it wasn't for the impracticality of such an exercise, I'd urge pro-choice women to abort one baby for every time the parent is copy-pasted...

Re:it has to be said (-1, Offtopic)

megaditto (982598) | more than 6 years ago | (#20527403)

If it weren't inhumane, I would suggest that pro-choice parents abort every single baby they had in the hopes of them scoring the ultimate Darwin award...

On a separate note, I think murder should be legal as well: because IT'S MY BODY (and you are pissing it off).

Re:it has to be said (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20527773)

On a separate note, I think murder should be legal as well: because IT'S MY BODY

On a separate note, I think suicide should be legal as well, since it's their body, and it's not like the conservartives really care what happens to it once it can't put in a day's work anymore.

Re:it has to be said (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20527981)

Well George Bush sure has aborted a lot of Iraqis...

Re:it has to be said (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20527179)

Babaies aren't made in 7 days retard.

Re:it has to be said (1)

Kerstyun (832278) | more than 6 years ago | (#20527453)

No, that was the world.

Re:it has to be said (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20527345)

Ironically, its people like you I use as examples of why we should allow abortion.

Re:it has to be said (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20527391)

Retroactively...

say what? (5, Insightful)

Doppler00 (534739) | more than 6 years ago | (#20527211)

Is it just me, or am I the only one that read that description and have no idea what the issue is or what it's about? Can someone please re-word it?

Re:say what? (4, Funny)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 6 years ago | (#20527229)

Can't help you. Too busy being amused by the words "sock puppet" in a Slashdot submission.

Re:say what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20533961)

Can't help you. Too busy being amused by the words "sock puppet" in a Slashdot submission.
That's what tags are for, brother...

Re:say what? (4, Informative)

symes (835608) | more than 6 years ago | (#20527247)

there are publishers printing scientists' work but only allowing access to those who are willing to stump up some cash. these publishers usually retain copy write of the printed work and, recently, have been charging more and more for the privilege. since most of the better research that ends up in print is government funded this practice has been raising a few eye-brows. for more info take a look here [bepress.com] .

Re:say what? (0, Flamebait)

megaditto (982598) | more than 6 years ago | (#20527411)

since most of the better research that ends up in print is government funded[...]

Maybe that's the problem. Perhaps government shouldn't butt in where it does not belong and let the market finance research like it ought to (and did back in the days of Bell labs, etc.)

ya right (5, Funny)

Adult film producer (866485) | more than 6 years ago | (#20527519)

just let the market have it's way and everything will be fine and dandy. Except the only things we'll end up with are cures for erectile dysfunction, manhandled leg syndrome and purple pills that do something truly wonderful but you have to talk to your doctor to find out.

Re:ya right (2, Funny)

Alsee (515537) | more than 6 years ago | (#20528489)

purple pills that do something truly wonderful but you have to talk to your doctor to find out

What do you mean you have to ask your doctor? Haven't you seen the commercials?
The purple pills make you go prancing through grassy fields.

-

Re:ya right (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 6 years ago | (#20529301)

Haven't you seen the commercials?
The purple pills make you go prancing through grassy fields.
I thought that was what the maxipads were for :-S

Re:say what? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20527579)

... You clearly don't have any personal experience with the scientific process. The market does not and will not fund the most valuable research for society. The most valuable research for society comes in two types. First there is pure research which leads to profound advancements many years down the line. There is no money to be made from this, so the market would never touch it. Yet everyone involved in science knows that this type of research has the most long-lasting implications.

Second there are aspects of applied research which do not manifest in a product, but instead teach society something. For example, if several studies are conducted to determine whether or not simple vitamins can treat a serious disease, then the result may be a profound and inexpensive treatment. The market, however, will never fund this because the result of the research is not a marketable product.

Suggesting that the market will somehow fund research when most research of value produces no marketable products is naive at best. Instead, society should be funding far more research than it currently is through governmental means, and I wager it will be funding quite a bit more research as the state of society continues to advance.

Re:say what? (3, Insightful)

porpnorber (851345) | more than 6 years ago | (#20528745)

Timescales. If people made investments with 50 or 100 year horizons, the market probably would do some good. In fact, this was arguably one of the positive qualities of monarchy, and dynastic thinking in general. (Of course, one is no more likely to get a good king as a good president, and kings last longer; there are two sides to every coin.)

The only direction I have been able to think of going from where we are now that might bring back some sanity is selling long horizon futures in researchers, either as individuals or perhaps small groups (such as graduating classes from your institution). It's a bit like the xxAA problem; the corporation, fundamentally the middleman in the equation, can't be trusted as the vehicle to set the goals.

Re:say what? (2, Insightful)

symes (835608) | more than 6 years ago | (#20530243)

The market does not and will not fund the most valuable research for society
Spot on. Particularly where that research might result cause restrictions to market activity. For example research into the deleterious effects of smoking, etc..

Re:say what? Missing the point (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20531195)

The point is not who funds research (I'll get to that) -- it's that it certainly isn't the
bozos who want me to pay over $60,000 for back issues of say, rev sci inst, and I am not
making this up. Does AIP really promote physics by doing this, or just enrich themselves. They
fund zero research last I checked.

And last I checked, the governments fund nearly all pure research, and even that is getting
mostly reduced to more short term goals these days.

Point is, I, you, and anybody else who pays taxes already paid for this stuff once. Why should the
AIP get rich off everyone who just wants to see what they've paid for already? If it was the (pessimistically)
$0.20/article it really costs them to archive and have a web server, and the abstracts were good enough
to see if I was going to waste my 20 cents, fine. But now it's over twenty dollars and the abstracts tend
to obfuscate the true content or make it look like there's more there than there turns out to be. Google
some science stuff that links to an abstract and try the buy now link if you don't believe me.

This is very relevant to me as I'm doing self-funded research and no nearby library has paid up for
this kind of content so I can get to it. I'm well off, but see the price above. Could you get that one past your
wife for a hobby? Oh I forgot, this is slashdot.

Re:say what? (4, Insightful)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | more than 6 years ago | (#20527661)

The free market has spoken and it says it wants government funds. Oh I'm sorry, you don't want it to be THAT free, do you?

Re:say what? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20528307)

But has the free public given its approval to give their money to the free market? I don't think so.

Capitalism is a great system until it buys government influence.

Re:say what? (0)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | more than 6 years ago | (#20528667)

As with all contracts there are certain stipulations. People and companies of the free market are welcome to not accept money from the government.

Re:say what? (5, Informative)

aurispector (530273) | more than 6 years ago | (#20527715)

Bell Labs doesn't really exist anymore because the visionary guys who ran the likes of Bell, HP, etc., have been replaced by corporate greedhead drones who diligently "enhance shareholder value" by offshoring anything that isn't nailed down.

New milennium capitalism uses political means to artificially support a business model and short-circuit free market competition. If you can't win by competing, pay off the political process to rig the rules in your favor.

What is basically happening is that the publishers want to protect their little piles of paper via legislative means. If they actually had something worthwhile, people would pony up for access. In the old days libraries would pay for hard copies because there really was no other way to do it and the prices were fairly reasonable. Individuals might personally subscribe to a relevant journal. Now that there is no reason to actually print hard copies the publishers are fighting tooth and nail to stay in business.

If the government wanted to do something useful, they could set up a framework in which legitimate peer reviewed journals could be published online free of charge.

If we are going to have an information superhighway it shouldn't be a toll road.

Re:say what? (2, Interesting)

budgenator (254554) | more than 6 years ago | (#20527973)

I'm not sure that even electronic publishing could ever be free, just keeping the disks spinning and bandwidth paid for the usefull life of an article has an monitary expense. I will admit that the monitary expense is minor compared to the costs of editorial and peer review, yet these cost are not exclusively a monitary expense, the initial editorial and peer review could easily be payment in kind for publication credit. I would explain what I'm thinking about as a chimera of Slashdot [slashcode.com] and arXiv.org [arxiv.org] . The editors would be editors and be resonsible for maintence of the actually sections and their continuity, there would be an advisory board and advisory boards for the subject sections like at arXiv.org and the whole thing could be karma based. So an article would be submitted, when the editorial board signns off, it goes to the advisory board who would either veto it for errors or vote on it it to establish a ranking for science and topical interest, if the ranking is high enough it gets published on the main page or the subject pages, failing that in stays in the firehose for a while then gets archived. Because topicality is considered for display position and it's web-based all of the mundane things like hardware/software/sysadmin expenses could easily be advertiser sponsored. The "related stories" feature would be very inteesting especially if it could be weighted to provide both agreeing and disagreeing related articles.

Re:say what? (1)

aurispector (530273) | more than 6 years ago | (#20530299)

The reason the peer review process works is because (generally speaking) the ones who actually review are well known in their respective fields. If you publish something in their field, you had better be familiar with their work. I'm not sure a slashdot/firehose type system would really work for scientific articles. You want the system to be fairly conservative with regards to resisting trends. If something is a sea change/paradigm shift it ought to take a while to be accepted while it is being evaluated as the consequences can serious if a mistake is made (think medical research) and research fraud is not unknown. The way you describe how things are displayed on the front page might work for news, but for scientific research it's really more important that articles be accessible and well organized. Science is a concensus, but it is hopefully a learned concensus.

Re:say what? (2, Interesting)

budgenator (254554) | more than 6 years ago | (#20533539)

the "karma system" would have to be multi-dimensional, you'd get more publication credit if your articles survived peer-review, you might get more peerage credit if you comments to an article were moded up by others etc. if your publication score is high, you'd need less peer review, if your peerage is high you'd be able to review more articles or your review would get a heavier weighting. Considering it's the first time my idea has seen the light of day I think it's pretty good, but of course it's still rough and needs some polishing. At worst it could be an idea that seems good at first glance but has unanticipated problems. The system might even encourage some interesting cross field collaborations, maybe a scienceforge instead of a sourceforge.

Re:say what? (3, Insightful)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 6 years ago | (#20528045)

Bell Labs was the result of a large regulated monopoly running the national phone system having so much money it was an embarrassment. While Bell Labs did lots of absolutely stunning R&D, there were plenty of other side effects to the economy that were bad as a result of having this monopoly control a critical part of the economy. One of these effects that we are suffering from even today is that the oligopolies that were the result of the Bell breakup are actively hindering the growth of communications technologies in the US - broadband, VoIP (and public ENUM), metro WiFi, and portable cellular.

New milennium (sic) capitalism uses political means to artificially support a business model and short-circuit free market competition. If you can't win by competing, pay off the political process to rig the rules in your favor.

There is nothing, NOTHING new to that process. It has been going on for at least 5 millennia.

Re:say what? (1)

aurispector (530273) | more than 6 years ago | (#20530347)

Bell labs WAS an anomaly owing to it's monopoly parentage. What really sucks is that verizon, comcast and the rest are working as hard as they can to re-establish the monopolies. Hence we get all the problems and none of the benefits of the OLD monopoly.

I stand corrected on two counts - my spelling and for suggesting that political interference in free markets is anything new. It's just that it seems to me that it is being used more brazenly (think microsoft and ISO) than it used to be, but this could simply be the result of better reporting.

Re:say what? (1)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532753)

Bell Labs was the result of a large regulated monopoly running the national phone system...

Then explain the demise or radical downsizings and/or retooling of HP Labs, Xerox PARC, IBM Research, Tek Labs, et. al. None of them had "regulated monopolies", yet all of them seemed to have funds for relatively advanced R&D (and mostly R) back in the bad old days, but today are shells of themselves (if in existence at all). I personally blame corporate mismanagement of other functions reducing funds for most initial changes, but it is amazing to me that companies that once treated their research labs as their crown jewels and as drivers of innovation now think the best thing to do is to either shut them down or not fund them. I guess that all of those bright ideas are just going to appear out of the air somewhere fully formed (personally, I think in Asia or Europe). Oddly enough, the only companies that appear to be funding R are Microsoft and Google which lends credence to the "monopoly" argument posted above. But my question still stands - why was research funded, even by non-monopoly companies back in the seventies and eighties, while they are almost completely unfunded today?

Re:say what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20529463)

That last sentence is amazing.

Re:say what? (1)

aurispector (530273) | more than 6 years ago | (#20530371)

It was more of a homage to Cryptonomicon than a serious statement.

Re:say what? (4, Insightful)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 6 years ago | (#20527765)

Or perhaps children shouldn't read Ayn Rand before they know the difference between fiction and real life.

Re:say what? (1)

jbengt (874751) | more than 6 years ago | (#20528405)

Back in the days of Bell Labs, Ma Bell was not part of a free market, but was a government sanctioned natural monopoly.
The reason that their successors (Lucent, or whatever the rebranded spin-offs are called now) don't do the great research anymore is that they are now part of the capitalist market and beholden to the sacred cow of shareholder profits;
they no longer have money to spend on improving science and society, but must spend it all on things that will improve next quarter's bottom line.

copy write (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20527479)

It's copyright, you retarded fucking spacker.

Re:say what? (1)

sepluv (641107) | more than 6 years ago | (#20529523)

retain copy write [sic]
They can't be retaining copyrights (note the spelling) as they didn't hold them in the first place. This is more like forcing authors to give up their copyright (what one might consider to be, at least morally, copyright theft--I know, I know, how dare I use that phrase correctly on a sensationalist site like /.). This is another reason for not making copyright transferable. (Sure...you can give someone a lease on your copyright until it runs out, but the implications of what you were doing would be much clearer, you would still be attributed and you could still take a decision to sue infringers yourself).

copyRIGHT (1)

lennier (44736) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532091)

There is no such word as "copywrite", though it's a nice eggcorn [lascribe.net] .

It amazes me how many computer programmers can't spell. However do you get your code to compile?

Re:copyRIGHT (1)

mjc_w (192427) | more than 6 years ago | (#20534157)

Compilers do not care if you spell correctly as long as you are consistent.

The article is about... 30 bucks (4, Funny)

Nymz (905908) | more than 6 years ago | (#20527283)

and after you pay, then you'll need a proprietary reader to read it.
Slashdot Submissions Showing Subtle Sarcasm +1

Re:The article is about... 30 bucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20528325)

Almost all digitally published scholarly research, free or subscription based, is downloadable as PDF-files. You don't a proprietary reader for those on any platform.

Re:The article is about... 30 bucks (1)

Alsee (515537) | more than 6 years ago | (#20528579)

If paying $30 to read this article is subtle sarcasm, I fear blunt sarcasm may cause a cranial fracture.

-

Re:say what? (5, Informative)

hanssprudel (323035) | more than 6 years ago | (#20527549)

Traditional academic publishing works like this:

- Research money (typically from the government, ie your money) is used to fund research and scientists write articles about it.

- Those articles are sent to periodicals (journals) to be published. The journals are corporate, and carry different amounts of prestige. For a researcher, getting papers in prestigious journals is extremely important, so they send them off willingly, and the journals do not pay a dime (in fact, sometimes the researcher has to pay).

- The article gets to sent to an editor at the journal, who is typically a well established senior researcher working for free because being an editor is prestigious (that is, he is working on time paid for by your money).

- The editor chooses researchers to do "peer review" on the article, that is anonymously write judge its merit. These peer reviewers work for free.

- If the article is accepted, the researcher is very happy, and gleefully signs over the copyright on the article he has written (which you paid for) to the corporate publisher.

- The corporate publisher, which now owns the article, won't let anybody access it unless they pay for a subscription to the journal. Large universities typically pay millions of dollars a year (again, largely your money) for journal subscriptions.

So to recap: researchers write the article for free (or pay), editors work for free, reviewers work for free, the publishers get the copyright and loads of money. In some fields you are even expected to typeset the article yourself, leaving the publisher only with the arduous task of visiting the bank to check on its ever increasing balance, and laughing at the sucker who finances all this (you). Because there is prestige in publishing in the "right" journal, and the money being spent doesn't belong to the people spending it, there is no market pressure to drive the prices down nor to make the system more sane. A number of companies, notably Elsevier, Wiley, and Springer, make incredible amounts of money off this.

Lately, however, something has finally started happening. The open access movement has been started to try to make scientific work freely available on the Internet, through open journals (like PLoS [plos.org] ) and through researchers retaining copyright so they can put their articles on their own homepages and on sites like arXiv [arxiv.org] and aforementioned PubMed Central. This movement has gained a lot of momentum, and what is just starting to happen is that the people holding the pursestrap (like the National Institue of Health) want to start requiring that research they pay for published open access. Obviously, the publishers will do anything not to lose their sweet gig, hence the lobbyists all over capitol hill screaming censorship and government interference (both of which are completely ridiculous - I'm as libertarian as the next guy, but if the government pays for the science, it can say where you publish it).

Re:say what? (2, Informative)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#20527603)

While I agree that you got the majority of the information correct, I did want to point out a few things. First, there is a whole lot of research out there that is not funded by government grants. However, the actual percentages entirely depend on the field where the research is being done. Also, a number of journals do give the EIC and Associate Editors (basically, the senior research staff associated with the journal) an honorarium in lieu of a salary. Again, the amounts totally depend upon the agreement. At the journal I previously worked for, the EIC's honorarium was about $40K/year. Then again, we were a small research nonprofit publication that funneled any income back into our business via various means, so we weren't anywhere in the same ballpark as Elsevier or Wiley. Just thought I'd mention these few things...

Re:say what? (4, Interesting)

LooTze (988596) | more than 6 years ago | (#20528011)

I agree with most of what you but need to add a couple of points. Before I proceed, let me start by saying that I am all for free access and whenever there is a choice I try to publish my stuff in open access journals. The big deal in open access (at least in Biology) has been the introduction of PLoS which attempts to compete with the top three journals (Nature, Science and Cell). And there is still no evidence that this can be economically feasible - primarily because such journals have genuine editors who are paid a lot of money to do the editing. So unlike most other journals, these editors actually can summarily decide to reject a paper for weird policy reasons like it is not flashy enough or popular science enough (even if the reviewers recommend publication). Whether you like the policy or not, the journals want to assure that they have editors who have a clue and are committed. So these are full-time jobs which are well-paid. In addition, most journals do have to pay copy editors, printers, etc. The only way PLoS has been able to circumvent this is by (a) huge donations )primarily from a couple of donors (b) Charge the authors money to publish their work. This used to be $1500 and now has been increased to $2000 or $2500. Of course, some argue that the high cost is primarily because the PLoS offices are located in San Francisco. (But that belongs to a different offshoring story. Unfortunately, recently HHMI was trying to decide what to do about this open access but did not end up doing the right thing. The reason this is important is that HHMI is the largest private funder of biomedical research in the US and probably the world - and HHMI investigators contribute a significant chunk of papers in top journals. HHMI investigators are evaluated every few years and it is a scary process because if you get kicked out, there is not way you can get back in. HHMI started off by saying that they will only count open access journals in this review process but then eventually after a lot of backdoor politics - primarily because the stupid scientists did not want to stop publishing in the top journals - it was decided that HHMI was going to pay publishers a truckload of money to allow open access (eventually) to papers from HHMI investigators. They had so much negotiating power that if they had stood their ground, they could have easily got open access for everyone in a year or so. But sadly, not going to happen.

Re:say what? (2, Informative)

Gandling (899826) | more than 6 years ago | (#20528091)

The only way PLoS has been able to circumvent this is by (a) huge donations )primarily from a couple of donors (b) Charge the authors money to publish their work. This used to be $1500 and now has been increased to $2000 or $2500.
As a former grad student I can assure you that many established journals charge authors a publishing fee on the same order of magnitude.

Re:say what? (1)

LooTze (988596) | more than 6 years ago | (#20528415)

This is definitely true for many mid-rung journals but not for the three journals I mentioned that PLoS is specifically trying to compete with. These charge much lesser - unless you have color figures when it can be hugely expensive.

Re:say what? (1)

Petrushka (815171) | more than 6 years ago | (#20531663)

As a former grad student I can assure you that many established journals charge authors a publishing fee on the same order of magnitude.

I've never understood this. In my field there are no publication fees, and it's a much smaller field than any of the natural sciences. How is it that in a field where the journals have a smaller audience, a journal subscription costs only a few hundred dollars and there are no fees, while in fields where there's a potential audience of tens (hundreds?) of thousands of people, the journals are ten times more expensive and charge fees to boot?

How much do referees for journals in the natural sciences get paid, anyway?

Re:say what? (1)

hanssprudel (323035) | more than 6 years ago | (#20528249)

In addition, most journals do have to pay copy editors, printers, etc.

These jobs can now more or less be handled by computers. In my subject (mathematics), researchers always have to typeset the articles themselves and submit camera ready copies in PDF format, whether the journal is open access or not. This is typically as easy as importing the journals LaTeX template and recompiling. I realize that other fields use inferior document preperation systems - but MS Word can import templates too, right?

The only way PLoS has been able to circumvent this is by (a) huge donations primarily from a couple of donors (b) Charge the authors money to publish their work.

But remember that all the money the journals make come from research donations and universities anyways. Having non-open access journals doesn't add any money to the system, it just takes it out. Funding an open access journal directly is just more open, transparent, and efficient.

And also, it is possible to run open access journals without fees or funds. In my field, The Electronic Journal of Probability [washington.edu] is open access, had no publishing fees, as far as I know no large sponsors, and yet is quickly becoming one of the most respected journals.

Re:say what? (1)

LooTze (988596) | more than 6 years ago | (#20528529)

Most biologists use MS Word and don't submit camera-ready typeset documents except a few Biophysics labs. MS Word can handle templates but there are not anywhere close to camera-ready.

And at least with Nature and Science (I don't think with Cell), the editors actually chop and rewrite major portions of your manuscript to make it more readable to the general reader and even re-draw model figures, etc. So they do do serious editing that require a talented person even on a computer.

Again, I want to reiterate this not true for all journals and there many journals even in biology that open access at a small publication charge. The ones that are both open access and free to publish are usually electronic but they do exist as well.

I agree funding open access journals publishing is somewhat better than paying for journals for reading a paper. But this needs to be pointed out in some discussion. People tend to assume that open access is going to bring down costs.

Re:say what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20531515)

Before I proceed, let me start by saying that I am all for free access
What's your position on paragraphs, shitcock?

Re:say what? (1)

Assassin bug (835070) | more than 6 years ago | (#20528301)

You should note that researchers also have a choice as to where to submit their manuscript for consideration. Also, research money is obtained through a grant proposal. It is normally the case that you state somewhere in the grant proposal that the results will be published in a peer-reviewed journal. Furthermore, some granting agencies, like USDA-CREES, require yearly progress reports and a final summary at the end of the project. So, it is quite misleading to state that the publics' money is being thrown into projects without any return on investment (as has been discussed further up the discussion thread). I am certain that research that was entirely funded through private funds would not necessarily have any obligations to share with the public.

say work for hire? (1)

jbengt (874751) | more than 6 years ago | (#20528463)

Can't the government claim thaqt research done with taxpayer money is a work for hire, and claim the copyright on it.
The governement could give the reasearch a non-exclusive, royalty-free, perpetual license to publish the work and extend that license to any peer-reviewed journal that warrants it. But the taxpayer could still be able to get access to the work through government libraries.

Re:say what? (5, Insightful)

stranger_to_himself (1132241) | more than 6 years ago | (#20527585)

The current model for the dissemination of scientific research is that scientists send letters and papers to journals, which are then peer assessed by reviewers assigned by the journal and, if they meet a certain standard, are printed. Journals used to be printed and sent to subscribers, and nobody complained that they had to pay to receive a copy of the journal.

Now journals can put papers online for their subscribers instead of printing, which makes people wonder exactly what the publishers are doing for the money they expect to get. They don't write the articles or pay the authors, and they don't review them or pay the reviewers (I write and review pretty regularly). But this remains the only accepted way to release your research, to appear in a well respected journal. The journals are now trading purely on reputations they have aquired for the standards of the work they accept.

Public Library of Science, as I understand it, is an online repository of research that is open to everybody. There are also several PLoS journals, that appear online and for free and perform most of the functions of the old paper journals and their online equivilants. PLoS is also gaining a good reputation for quality.

Traditional publishers are in trouble because of this, and will inevitably make some rather desperate arguments to preserve their business models, hence the article.

Re:say what? (1)

rsidd (6328) | more than 6 years ago | (#20527629)

Maybe you could try following the links? I counted 6 links, 4 of which will inform you about the issue, and 3 of them require no subscription.

I enjoy slashdot-bashing when appropriate. But it's not wrong that they expect you to RTFA. I thought the summary was pretty clear and concise, provided you know what "open access", "peer review" and so on mean. A summary isn't a review article.

In Knuth's words... (1)

femto (459605) | more than 6 years ago | (#20527693)

Donald Knuth's open letter [stanford.edu] explains the issues.

Re:say what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20528469)

The proposal would require actions such as that NASA stop keeping climate calculations secret [slashdot.org] and make all their data, methods, and results public for anyone to use. Right now researchers can take government money but keep details of their research secret. Even what they make public is only free for the government to use, so you can't take their discovery of a shorter route to your home and use that information.

Overdrive. Our libraries come up short. (4, Interesting)

dsaklad (162420) | more than 6 years ago | (#20527215)

Our libraries come up short with regard to overdrive...

Letter to the Boston Public Library
http://www.fsf.org/campaigns/bpl.html [fsf.org]

        * Send this page to somebody

To the Management of the Boston Public Library,

Don Saklad forwarded me your message which reports that OverDrive Audio Books use "copyright protection technology" made by Microsoft.

The technology in question is an example of Digital Restrictions Management (DRM)--technology designed to restrict the public. Describing it as "copyright protection" puts a favorable spin on a mechanism intended to deny the public the exercise of those rights which copyright law has not yet denied them.

The use of that format for distributing books is not a fact of nature; it is a choice. When a choice leads to bad consequences, it ought to be changed, and that is the case here. I respectfully submit that the Boston Public Library has a responsibility to refuse to distribute anything in this format, even if it seems "convenient" to some in the short term.

By making the choice to use this format, the Boston Public Library gives additional power to a corporation already twice convicted of unfair competition.

This choice excludes more than just Macintosh users. The users of the GNU/Linux system, an operating system made up of free/libre software, are excluded as well. Since these audiobooks are locked up with Digital Restrictions Management (DRM), it is illegal in the US to release free/libre software capable of reading these audiobooks. Apple may make some sort of arrangement to include capable software in MacOS (which is, itself, non-free software for which users cannot get source code). But we in the free software community will never be allowed to provide software to play them, unless laws are changed.

There is another, deeper issue at stake here. The tendency of digitalization is to convert public libraries into retail stores for vendors of digital works. The choice to distribute information in a secret format--information designed to evaporate and become unreadable--is the antithesis of the spirit of the public library. Libraries which participate in this have lost their hearts.

I therefore urge the Boston Public Library to terminate its association with OverDrive Audio Books, and adopt a policy of refusing to be agents for the propagation of Digital Restrictions Management.
Sincerely
Richard Stallman
President, Free Software Foundation
MacArthur Fellow
http://www.fsf.org/campaigns/bpl.html [fsf.org]

Re:Overdrive. Our libraries come up short. (4, Interesting)

shalla (642644) | more than 6 years ago | (#20528063)

I have a response to this. Instead of haranguing the libraries, bug the hell out of the publishers. As it stands there are currently ZERO library vendors that offer eAudiobook downloads that are compatible with Mac or GNU/Linux because of the DRM on the files. This is certainly NOT the choice of the libraries.

I'm a librarian for a public library in Pittsburgh. We get requests all the time for downloadable audiobooks. We got requests before we had any options, and we get them now that we offer both OverDrive and Netlibrary downloads. At least OverDrive has the option to (in some cases, if the publisher has allowed it) burn the book to CD. After that, you can then import it to iTunes and transfer it over to your iPod. It's stupid clunky and you're better off just getting the CDs in the first place to listen that way, but it can be done and OverDrive's CEO has been known to tell people that.

Now, here's the question from the library's point of view. Is it better to not offer ANY eAudiobooks at all, despite the many requests for them, than to offer ones that can only be used by those with the dominant operating system? (We have to make the same decision with video games, too. What formats do we buy in?) With all due respect to the parent poster and to Mr. Stallman, my job is not to take a stand on DRM. It's to provide materials to the public in the formats they want, and that means that in some cases, like it or not, we're going to decide to offer eAudiobooks that cannot be used by all computer users. Just as DVDs cannot be watched by VCR owners, and CDs cannot be listened to by those with merely a tape deck, and Mac software cannot be run on a Windows machine. We're going to have to judiciously apportion an appropriate part of the budget according to demand for the items.

Now, would libraries love to change this? Yes. I personally have a list of free, non-DRM sites that allow you to download eAudiobooks for free that I hand out along with instructions on how the library-accessible eAudiobooks work. The problem is that those sites (such as Librivox [librivox.org] or AudiobooksForFree [audiobooksforfree.com] ) don't offer Janet Evanovich or John Patterson or the other bestsellers. They're generally things in the public domain (obviously), and our patrons usually want newer items.

Every chance I get, I complain to our Recorded Books representative (who works with Netlibrary) about the DRM limitations and make the case that should another company come along that offers downloads without DRM, we're gone to them no matter the cost. The libraries that have told OverDrive to buzz off in the past have just gotten shrugs. It doesn't change anything. (This includes the library located right next to Apple Headquarters, by the way. They finally gave in to demand.)

This is something that gets discussed all the time amongst librarians and on library blogs. My feeling is that complaining to the libraries is useless. We agree with you in spirit, but in practice, we're going to offer the product because our patrons want it. What we WILL support you in is complaining to the companies themselves, and in pushing the publishers to reach for a broader market. Instead of writing letters to libraries, spend your time convincing the publishers that they'll have wider listenership (without losing sales) if they hit the non-DRM market and convincing OverDrive and Netlibrary to begin offering other options than the protected WMA files.

From OverDrive's Web site, here's their contact information:

OverDrive, Inc.
Valley Tech Center - Suite N
8555 Sweet Valley Drive
Cleveland, OH 44125 USA
Phone: (216) 573-6886
Fax: (216) 573-6888
Email: info@overdrive.com

And from NetLibrary's Web site:

NetLibrary Division Office
4888 Pearl East Circle, Ste. 103
Boulder, CO 80301
USA
info@NetLibrary.com

Or, since NetLibrary is a division of OCLC:

Headquarters
OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc.
6565 Frantz Road
Dublin, OH 43017-3395
USA
oclc@oclc.org

I hope this helps you look at the issue from another point of view, and that in a few years we can cheer the end of DRM in libraries together.

Cheers,
shalla

Re:Overdrive. Our libraries come up short. (1)

shalla (642644) | more than 6 years ago | (#20528099)

Yes, replying to my own post. *sigh*

I forgot to mention that Audible.com [audible.com] offers audiobooks for download, and I'm under the impression that they're DRM-free and work with Macs. I haven't tried it, though, so I could be wrong. So a third option would be to somehow convince them (and have them convince their publishers) to enter the library market without adding DRM.

And yes, I _DO_ sit around all day and think about things like this and make up lists of where people can get free audiobook downloads. It's not like we don't care. :P

Re:Overdrive. Our libraries come up short. (1)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 6 years ago | (#20528303)

Audible.com files are not DRM free, but they have a DRM agent for Mac. I've used their services and can verify that their content works on Mac exactly the same way as it works in Windows. I don't know about FOSS operating systems; I seriously doubt it works with them.

Re:Overdrive. Our libraries come up short. (1)

shalla (642644) | more than 6 years ago | (#20529245)

Excellent. Thank you for posting that. So they're only a slightly better option, then. Essentially, we're going to have to push the publishers to allow DRM-free downloads, I think.

Re:Overdrive. Our libraries come up short. (1)

skeeto (1138903) | more than 6 years ago | (#20528535)

I'm a librarian for a public library in Pittsburgh.
I bet your library has "Carnegie" in the name.

Re:Overdrive. Our libraries come up short. (1)

shalla (642644) | more than 6 years ago | (#20529223)

You'd be wrong, actually, though it was a nice guess. Very good chance, statistically speaking.

Re:Overdrive. Our libraries come up short. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20531347)

Two points:

1. A public library or publicly funded library (university or otherwise) has a financial obligation regarding how it spends money.

2. An ALA affiliated librarian supports the "right to read" as defined in the ALA constitution.

Both of these are in conflict with paying for restricted digital materials. If the ALA were effective it would leverage its influence with publishers to eliminate the issue.

Re:Overdrive. Our libraries come up short. (2, Insightful)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 6 years ago | (#20533637)

With all due respect to the parent poster and to Mr. Stallman, my job is not to take a stand on DRM.

As a librarian, it absolutely is your ethical/professional responsibility to evaluate the social implications of DRM technology and potentially take a stand on the issue. DRM acceptance has the potential to define the level of access to human knowledge people have. DRM use today has a direct impact on the extent to which libraries can archive information for the future.

The model for libraries has always been that the library actually controls a copy of the book / CD / tape and can lend it to anyone at any time. DRM-encumbered files give the publisher complete control - with a default of "deny access". That default is utterly incompatible with the mission of a public library.

Re:Overdrive. Our libraries come up short. (1)

shalla (642644) | more than 6 years ago | (#20534173)

As a librarian, it absolutely is your ethical/professional responsibility to evaluate the social implications of DRM technology and potentially take a stand on the issue.

While I agree that DRM falls within my professional concerns, it's not the main concern of my job, and I'm certainly not going to treat it as such. I have complained to eAudiobook reps about compatibility issues, I've compiled lists of alternate sources of eAudiobooks for patrons, and I've spent countless hours with patrons trying to get their downloading and transferring to their mp3 players to work. And while that is all a part of my job, it is still not the essence of my job, and I have neither the time nor the inclination to make it so.

Furthermore, if you want me to compare the use of DRM on eAudiobooks to the use of items owned by public libraries, you won't like the result.

The model for libraries has always been that the library actually controls a copy of the book / CD / tape and can lend it to anyone at any time. DRM-encumbered files give the publisher complete control - with a default of "deny access". That default is utterly incompatible with the mission of a public library.

Um, that's just not correct.

Public libraries have often owned or provided access to a great many items, including books, CDs, DVDs, periodical articles, and audiobooks. While many of those items were physically owned by the library, not all were. Often the public library would only have periodical indexes and would help a patron find where they could get a copy of an article--but the patron would have to secure it themselves or pay for it. The electronic databases of the past 15 years are an improvement over that in that we often have access to the full text of many articles, but again, that is leased access and it is controlled in a number of ways that the library pays for, including number of simultaneous users and whether or not remote access exists. If the vendor suddenly decides to shut down or change access or we stop paying for a database, that's the end of access.

As for the purpose of DRM on library items, let's look at how your normal library book is handled. Public Library X buys the book and makes it available. Patron A checks said book out. Patron A must return the book to the library or pay for it, and Patron A knows (or should know) that they cannot just photocopy the book because that is copyright infringement. Also, most books are rather prohibitively large to photocopy--you might as well just buy the thing. However, they can read the book and return it, and all is well and good. As for CDs, they can be borrowed and listened to and returned, but I certainly wouldn't let you walk in, pick up one of the library's music CDs and burn a copy for yourself on one of our computers without stopping you and telling you it was a violation of copyright.

If we move to the realm of eAudiobooks and attempt to apply the same expectations of a due date where the patron must stop using the item and a restriction on copying the item, we run into problems. The file the patron is downloading is not the one and only file; if the patron does not return it, they aren't billed for it and the library does not have to buy a new one. Instead, it is merely one copy of that original file. In order to make sure that the copy does not continue to exist forever without being checked out again, some form of control must be used on the file. That's where DRM comes in on library eAudiobooks. It also exists to prevent a patron from just copying the audiobook for their own use.

Now if this were my own personal audiobook, then no, DRM should not be on it. As a consumer, I am entitled to make back-up copies of my own purchase and listen to it for as long as I want. But as a library patron, it is not your book--you are borrowing it for an amount of time, you do not have the right to make back-ups, and this is the electronic way they enforce that.

To turn this back to OverDrive and other eAudiobook vendors, my biggest gripe is not necessarily that they have DRM on the files (because as you can see from above, I can see the uses in a library setting.) It's that they don't support multiple platforms.

My first choice would be no DRM at all. In general I don't like it and I think it creates more problems than it solves. That would be the simplest thing for library patrons, and it would get rid of the whole issue of compatibility. However, barring that, then I want multiple compatibility options for my patrons.

Finally, in a good many cases, the library DOES own a copy of the book, the CD, the audiobook, etc. in addition to the eAudiobook. That's certainly the case with the popular titles. Generally we're trying to serve as many people as we can.

DRM use today has a direct impact on the extent to which libraries can archive information for the future.

I think you have a misconception of what libraries do. In general, we aren't necessarily archiving information for the future. Archives archive. Libraries support various communities with access to the relevant information they need, depending on the mission statement of said library. While that may include archiving some information, in a lot of cases it involves chucking a lot more to make room for new stuff. We don't have the physical newspapers from the 80s or 90s. In fact, we don't keep more than the past month. The usage to space ratio wasn't worth it.

Overdrive. Our libraries come up short. (2, Informative)

dsaklad (162420) | more than 6 years ago | (#20527231)

Send a letter to the Boston Public Library

        * Send this page to somebody

"I therefore urge the Boston Public Library to terminate its association with OverDrive Audio Books, and adopt a policy of refusing to be agents for the propagation of Digital Restrictions Management."
http://www.fsf.org/news/letter-to-the-bpl [fsf.org]

Richard Stallman sent a letter to the Boston Public Library (BPL) asking them to abandon the system they currently use to distribute audio books, since this format requires the use of proprietary software. It is illegal in the US to release free software capable of reading these audio books because of the Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) measures that are being imposed.

You can help by sending your own letter to the BPL (gref at bpl dot org) and by examining the policies of your own local library. We would be glad to see CCs of any letters you send at campaigns@fsf.org [mailto] and to hear about any similar policies in place at libraries other than the BPL.

Please keep an eye on our DRM campaign area for future updates about this and other related issues
http://www.fsf.org/news/letter-to-the-bpl [fsf.org]

Re:Overdrive. Our libraries come up short. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20527357)

I would but my word processor only outputs ODF [slashdot.org] .

Re:Overdrive. Our libraries come up short. (1)

shalla (642644) | more than 6 years ago | (#20529329)

Richard Stallman sent a letter to the Boston Public Library (BPL) asking them to abandon the system they currently use to distribute audio books, since this format requires the use of proprietary software. It is illegal in the US to release free software capable of reading these audio books because of the Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) measures that are being imposed.

Did he, you know, bother to ask what the alternatives were?

There are no eAudiobook vendors for libraries that do not use DRM. Libraries are in the position of either not offering a service that is highly requested by patrons, or offering one that is useable only by those with the dominant operating system. As a librarian for a public library, I would gladly offer a DRM-free, non-proprietary format if one were available. However, since my options are DRM or nothing, then I must reluctantly opt for DRM.

So, rather than spamming libraries with form letters when they are not in a position to change the system, try writing to publishers and to the vendors (OverDrive, NetLibrary, Audible.com, etc.) with your comments.

Re:Overdrive. Our libraries come up short. (1)

dsaklad (162420) | more than 6 years ago | (#20530587)

Around the web what are examples of some links?... for free audio books available that are compatible with more types of computer setups?

It would be a good idea to list these examples on libraries' websites where library clientele are also pointed to overdrive. Then overdrive becomes one of the listed alternatives among other free audio books that are available. Boston Public Library and Cambridge Public Library http://www.cambridgema.gov/CPL/audiobooks.html [cambridgema.gov] across the river should list many of the alternatives including the overdrive method rather than limiting the pointer to only one!

Re:Overdrive. Our libraries come up short. (1)

shalla (642644) | more than 6 years ago | (#20533113)

Sadly, there aren't that many good sites with more than, say, 10 free audio books on them. However, that's better than a couple years ago. I don't have my list with me atm, but off the top of my head:

Librivox [librivox.org]
Audio Books For Free [audiobooksforfree.com] (which has both free and pay options)
Free Classic Audio Books [freeclassi...obooks.com]
And this great post Audiobook Podcast Collection [oculture.com] at Open Culture, which lists some sites at the bottom.

If you go through through the list, you'll note that the vast majority are classics in the public domain rather than anything new. I can't say they've been a big hit with patrons.

There's also Audible.com [audible.com] ,which is a pay site with DRMed files for both Mac and Windows.

For us, people often find the eAudiobooks in our catalog when they search and simply click on a link to it, so if they're looking for a specific book, that's often how they get to the OverDrive or NetLibrary version. I do agree that libraries should list the DRM-free audiobook sites on their Web pages, and you could always send them a polite e-mail suggesting that they do that as a service for patrons with incompatible systems, iPods, etc. After all, it will certainly make the library look much better too. :) (Sort of "We can't do anything about this right now, but we're out there looking for you guys too!")

I'm not sure what different libraries' policies would be about putting up links to commercial sites like Audible.com or Audio Books for Free that the library hasn't contracted with.

Can't libraries negotiate? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#20530951)

Libraries are in the position of either not offering a service that is highly requested by patrons, or offering one that is useable only by those with the dominant operating system.
The library could ask patrons who feel serious about audio books to sign a petition against DRM in order to boost its negotiating power, right?

However, since my options are DRM or nothing, then I must reluctantly opt for DRM.
If your options for paper books were to keep them inside the physical presence of the library (and not lend them) or not to carry them at all, what would you do?

Re:Can't libraries negotiate? (1)

shalla (642644) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532907)

The library could ask patrons who feel serious about audio books to sign a petition against DRM in order to boost its negotiating power, right?

Any one library doing this would be ineffective. It has to be a big, organized movement, and frankly, we've got a few other things going on right now. I'm not saying it's a bad idea, just don't expect your local library (which may consist of one overworked person) to necessarily put this at the top of their To Do list.

That said, I do recommend you stop in and have a friendly chat with your local librarian to find out what your library offers in this vein, what he/she knows about it, and if there's anything they think you can do to help. Offer to sign such a petition. If they don't really understand DRM, try and find a non-painful way to start educating them on the issues. I can't pretend that every library has only people who understand technology really well, but most libraries have people who want to serve their patrons well.

In another post, I gave the contact information for OverDrive, NetLibrary, and OCLC (NetLibrary's parent organization). I'd suggest writing to them about your concerns, too. I imagine they have to agree to DRM to get publishers to agree to distribute eAudiobooks through them. It might be easier to organize through a single organization or company to put pressure on publishers than through the widely scattered and varied libraries of America.

If your options for paper books were to keep them inside the physical presence of the library (and not lend them) or not to carry them at all, what would you do?

There are certainly cases where you cannot take books out of the library. In fact, there are whole libraries and collections like that where the items are too rare or valuable to circulate and the patrons have to come to the books. Also, I note that circulating books have to be returned to the library in a certain amount of time or you are billed to replace them, and if you were to take the book to the library's photocopier and attempt to photocopy the whole book, someone should stop you and tell you that you can't because that's a violation of copyright.

DRM on eAudiobooks is supposed to replicate the checkout function by causing eAudiobooks to expire when the checkout period is done so you can't keep them forever, and it's supposed to stop you from breaking copyright. So on digital items checked out from a library, DRM does have a legitimate function. Library patrons don't have the right to make back-up copies of the borrowed work or keep it forever. The trick is that 1) it needs to work, and 2) it needs to work with the systems and formats of our patrons and not exclude those who have something other than the dominant system.

Now if it were an eAudiobook or downloadable music I were purchasing for myself, I would expect it to be DRM-free so that I could make back-up copies and I wouldn't have to worry about licenses or time outs. If they can't offer multi-platform DRM for libraries, then I think the offerings need to be DRM-free. But I do still see the point of DRM when you're talking about borrowed electronic materials. (Other borrowed electronic materials such as databases handle compensation and access a different way, such as limiting the number of simultaneous users or whether the database can be accessed remotely and charging fees based on usage. It's all very... icky. That's the technical term.)

FAiLZORs.. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20527395)

Standa8dS should

Hyperbole? (3, Insightful)

MollyB (162595) | more than 6 years ago | (#20527409)

pose a danger to peer reviewed scientific research, free markets, and possibly the future of western civilization.
This is a breathtakingly bold projection, muted somewhat (weaseled?) by the word "possibly". Nope, haven't RTFA, but most "Chicken Little" pronouncements seem to fizzle sooner than later. I have even less faith in the power of form letters, which Richard Stallman suggests above. Maybe we should just send nuts?

Re:Hyperbole? (1)

hachete (473378) | more than 6 years ago | (#20527785)

PRISM are talking to congress and K street - a congress who in the past have accepted publishers statements like this at their face value, witness the DMCA. I think the danger here is that prism will get the ear of a friendly congressperson, and whammo, the current situation is legislated up the whazoo, the publishers get to feed at the trough for an eternity, or the end of civilization, whichever is sooner.

On a side issue, it's interesting how the interweb has thrown a harsh light on these assumptions.

Re:Hyperbole? (1)

nick.ian.k (987094) | more than 6 years ago | (#20528177)

This is a breathtakingly bold projection, muted somewhat (weaseled?) by the word "possibly". Nope, haven't RTFA, but most "Chicken Little" pronouncements seem to fizzle sooner than later.

True, but don't discount the power these words tend to have when you're trying to write out something decidedly short-form and sway somebody's position X units that-away so they make a connection when they're reading about/observing related phenomena that smacks of your complaint, recall your little bit of hyperbole, and then fall just a little more in-line with your position. From the War on Terror to the global warming*, this is how many people across the gamut of beliefs and values wind up adopting their positions.

*I was tempted to write 'The Battle for Planet Earth', but I thought it might be confusing. But when the media adopts it, remember folks, you saw it here first. :)

Re:Hyperbole? (1)

MollyB (162595) | more than 6 years ago | (#20529249)

I don't discount the power or effect of this trope (1b.) [m-w.com] . I aspire to reach the discerning reader and hope to elevate discussions such that the merit of an argument is the criterion by which it should be judged. I acknowledge your point that (too) many people have lost the power of critical thinking. I thus pointed out such an example. There is another in the comment [slashdot.org] preceding yours in this thread. It just seems to me that a steady rise in meaningless intensity will ensure we are stuck on the treadmill of hype, and the search for new superlatives or imperatives does not help advance the discourse. Short-form need only be concise, its persuasiveness preferably appealing to the intellect, not the subconscious. I hope you aren't right, and afraid you might be...

(just noticed the reference to Mozilla in my Merriam-Webster link - if it breaks in your browser, sorry)

First Poop! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20527507)

boy will i be glad after the first poop in the morning

But...how can you NOT trust Prism??? (4, Funny)

Poingggg (103097) | more than 6 years ago | (#20527521)

..if they have people in LAB-COATS on every page on their site? WHITE labcoats! Everybody knows you can trust someone in a labcoat!

Re:But...how can you NOT trust Prism??? (1)

Viadd (173388) | more than 6 years ago | (#20528573)

They used to be stolen (sorry, 'copyright-infringing') pictures of people in labcoats. Presumably they paid for the pictures after they got caught.

http://www.boingboing.net/2007/08/antiopenscience- hypo.html [boingboing.net]

More OA info (1)

Seiruu (808321) | more than 6 years ago | (#20527569)

For a very brief overview of Open Access & Commercial Publishers:

http://listserver.sigmaxi.org/sc/wa.exe?A2=ind07&L =american-scientist-open-access-forum&D=1&O=D&F=l& S=&P=87619 [sigmaxi.org]

If I have to summarize that page (copy/paste), it'd basically go like this:

(1) PEER-REVIEWED JOURNAL-ARTICLE AUTHORS GIVE JOURNALS THEIR ARTICLES FOR FREE: NO ROYALTIES.

The authors' research and writings are funded by government research grants and/or by salaries from their employers (mostly universities).

(2) PEERS REVIEW FOR FREE.

The peers' reviewing work and time are funded by salaries from their employers (mostly universities).

(3) PUBLISHER REVENUES FROM INSTITUTIONAL SUBSCRIPTIONS ARE CURRENTLY PAYING THE FULL COST OF MANAGING THE PEER REVIEW, SEVERAL TIMES OVER.

That is the status quo today: The costs of managing peer review are covered, many times over, by selling -- mostly to the authors' institutions -- paper and online access to the articles donated for free by the authors, with the peer review donated for free by the peers.

(4) IF INSTITUTIONAL SUBSCRIPTIONS ARE EVER CANCELED, PEER REVIEW MANAGEMENT COSTS WILL BE PAID OUT OF THE INSTITUTIONAL SUBSCRIPTION CANCELLATION SAVINGS.

If and when institutional subscriptions were ever canceled unsustainably as a consequence of Green OA, the cost of peer review could easily be paid for directly by institutions, on behalf of their employees, per paper submitted, out of just a fraction of the very same funds they have saved from their institutional subscription cancellations. All access and archiving would then be provided by the network of institutional OA repositories instead of the publisher, who would only provide the peer review. This is called "OA publishing" or "Gold OA."
With Gold OA still somewhat being farfetched, the OA movement is currently striving for Green OA, which means that the commercial publishers do their normal routine, but allow the authors to deposit their peer reviewed and for publication accepted paper in their institutional repository immediately after its publication, where the institutional repository in question will follow certain protocols ( e.g. Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting http://www.openarchives.org/OAI/openarchivesprotoc ol.html#Introduction [openarchives.org] ) so the contents will be made searchable in various search engines (like google scholar, and others).

the scholary communications process is broken (5, Informative)

ericleasemorgan (928146) | more than 6 years ago | (#20528021)

The scholarly communications process is broken, and it has been this way for at least 15 years. I applaud the efforts of ARL and decry the lies and propaganda articulated by PRISM.

Again, the process is broken, and there are three contributing factors, listed here in no priority order. First, librarians (and libraries) desire to preserve the historical record for future use. This means they (we) desire to collect and organize just about as much of human's intellectual output in order to foster the growth of knowledge. Idealistic, I know, but it is true. Second, scholars (usually university faculty) have the natural desire for promotion and tenure. They want to be recognized by their peers and rewarded for achievements. This is often realized through publishing journal articles in sets of established venues. Third, publishers have the natural desire to earn as much money as possible. This is the nature of capitalism.

This three-fold combination (buy everything for the sake of future generations, published in established venues, and make as much money as possible) has driven the prices of scholarly journals through the roof. For example, just guess how much the average scholarly journal costs per year? If you guessed less than a few thousand dollars, then you were wrong. Twelve issues. Glossy paper. No ads. $3,000/year or more. Just about the worse journal is Brain Research costing close to $15,000/year.

Each of the three groups (librarians, scholars/researchers, and publishers) have the "rights" to do what they are doing, but in the process I sincerely believe the public gets the short end of the stick. Because the journals are licensed (not purchased) from the publishers, a person needs to be a part of the licensee's membership group in order to read the articles. This excluded the general public, researchers from abroad, or people in third-world countries. How are these people suppose to benefit from the research if they can't have access to the content?

Open access publishing is seen as one possible solution to these problems. It is very much akin to open source software. Research something. (Scratch an itch.) Write about it. (Document your software.) Deposit it in an archive and give it away (Make it available for download). Wait for comments. (Support your software.) Repeat, and enjoy the acknowledgement of your peers.

Open access publishing is not the answer to everything just as open source software is not the answer to everything. On the other hand, the public -- who has funded much of the research of scholars through tax-paid grants -- does have the right to access to materials they helped create. PRISM advocates the commercial sector continue to have control over the distribution process. Such a perspective is a disservice to the nature of scholarship and the freedom of access to fundamental knowledge.

--
Eric Lease Morgan
University Libraries of Notre Dame

Re:the scholary communications process is broken (1)

Seiruu (808321) | more than 6 years ago | (#20528167)

Open access publishing is seen as one possible solution to these problems. It is very much akin to open source software. Research something. (Scratch an itch.) Write about it. (Document your software.) Deposit it in an archive and give it away (Make it available for download). Wait for comments. (Support your software.) Repeat, and enjoy the acknowledgement of your peers.
You're talking about preprints and peer commentary. OA Literature is about opening up peer reviewed literature. So what you're saying here isn't exactly accurate. It gives an incomplete view of what the strength is of OA literature: them being the same credibility but with changes in the funding and accessibility. To be more precise, the shifting of funding and more accessibility.

Re:the scholary communications process is broken (1)

Strange Attractor (18957) | more than 6 years ago | (#20529085)

Thank you for your concise and accurate description of the expensive and sick condition of academic publishing.

Isn't this simple? (2, Insightful)

Stu Charlton (1311) | more than 6 years ago | (#20528273)

I'm not a scientist, and I had a heck of a time parsing through the summary, but I think I get it now.

1. An old economic model is dying: charging high fees for publishing & distribution of scholarly works
2. A new model is emerging: open, primarily web-based, access to these scholarly works after peer review
3. Publishers are desperate to retain their revenue streams, and will use PR, lobbying, rhetoric, and eventually legal means to stop this trend.
4. Vested interests (those who rely on the reputation of said journals) don't want to change the status quo.

It reads to me that PRISM ~= RIAA, circa 1999. The first salvos began with Napster's release, the first salvos here are beginning with rumblings of OA legislation.

Obviously there could/should be a nominal fee for hard copy redistribution, to manage the infrastructure of a such a press. But, when people can print their own copies with open access, this probably won't be needed.

The *real* economic value, it seems, of these publishers is the "brand reputation" associated with particular journals, which select certain articles for publication. Couldn't this be preserved by viewing these not as publishers, but as mere "content aggregators" of (open access) content? There's value in that, and a business could built on it, I'd think. (e.g. you're reading an example here w/ Slashdot).

Re:Isn't this simple? (1)

Strange Attractor (18957) | more than 6 years ago | (#20529413)

Yes. You've got it right. An extra piece that you could add is the motivation of faculty to publish. The fact that faculty hiring, tenure, and promotion decisions are often based simply on the number of publications is the pressure that creates the volume of mostly unread journal papers that fill library shelves.

WOW (1)

Alsee (515537) | more than 6 years ago | (#20528607)

equate public access to [] government censorship

Wow. Impressive.
These must be the same guys that equate the Iraq war to "nation building".

-

turkeys voting for Christmas? (1)

stranger_to_himself (1132241) | more than 6 years ago | (#20528701)

If everything I needed was Open Access then I wouldn't need to use my research library at all. At the moment all my research library does is manage the subscriptions that my University has with journals.

So in an Open Access academic environment, would we still need libraries?

Re:turkeys voting for Christmas? (2, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 6 years ago | (#20529037)

At the moment all my research library does is manage the subscriptions that my University has with journals.

And maintains the building that said journals are housed in. And hires the staff to keep you from walking out the door with the journals, having a party in the cubicles, smoking in the bathroom, or keeping the transients from moving into the library. And argues with IT each Wednesday after the computers freeze up. And argues with the budgeting staff of the University to replace those chairs that supported your great grandfather's butt.

And so on and so forth.

Re:turkeys voting for Christmas? (1)

stranger_to_himself (1132241) | more than 6 years ago | (#20529255)

Electronic journals don't need housing. Back issues are being scanned and made available fast. I don't have to leave my desk to get current journals.

Most of the rest of your comment was 'library exists to support library'.

Re:turkeys voting for Christmas? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 6 years ago | (#20529677)

And all of those back issues?

And all of the servers? Think of the servers man! They need a home and someone to watch over them. Maybe you should talk to your library staff a bit about just what they do aside from telling you not to eat your lunch in the cubicles.

Re:turkeys voting for Christmas? (3, Insightful)

azaris (699901) | more than 6 years ago | (#20531021)

Electronic journals don't need housing. Back issues are being scanned and made available fast. I don't have to leave my desk to get current journals.

I should consider it rather important to store multiple physical copies of scientific research in libraries throughout the world. There's already an alarming amount of obscure but relevant research from the 19th century and early 20th century that simply hasn't been widely reprinted and is in the danger of becoming folklore because the original manuscripts are so rare. Electronic storage is even less longevous than paper storage, it's not a solution for the ages.

Libraries are like RAID-5 of the research community.

The cost of the journals is killing libraries (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20528963)

I really don't see how the publishers can equate open access with censorship; it's really only saying if we can't get paid to publish this stuff then it must be "censorship." I think open access is a great idea. I was trained as a a librarian, and the increasing costs of serials (journals) for libraries is tapping into the budget--how about $1 million annually and up to $12,500 a year for a single journal for a small library?

It's made even worse that some of journals have to be there for accreditation, or as part of a package deal--it's all going electronic so to get access to this one journal requires an entire database.

Publishers know about things like interlibrary loan, where journal articles are copied (and copyright fees paid) and sent to other libraries, so some have put in requirements that libraries can only make a limited number of copies, or even none at all.

It's so serious libraries have been holding serials cancellation projects, the first ones I heard of were in the late eighties. It's a long and painful process trying to get input from the faculty on what they want to keep, what the publishers are willing to sell, and how much costs are likely to rise versus budgets that are stagnant or even decreasing. The serials are slashed, it's okay for a few years, then it happens again.

The result is a lose-lose for everyone but the publishers; libraries have a smaller and lower quality collection, having to rely more and more on interlibrary loan. Professors and students have to to greater lengths for their research, and more money out of the budget goes to serials. The publishers, meanwhile, keep on bleeding the libraries white.

I'm surprised it's lasted this long without the whole system breaking down--at some point the libraries can't cut anymore or pony up more cash. So open access is coming up and they're crying foul? I say to hell with them.

Corporate Restrictions on Information (1)

hackus (159037) | more than 6 years ago | (#20529383)

This is not surprising.

I have written about this before on Slashdot, and what the future holds for publishing in general, and any practical learning aid: Don't have Cash or Employed? Too bad, so sad because if you do not have either, your going to go to jail if you attempt to do research yourself.

Its all about controlling information just like it was back in the Dark Ages when lowly surfs caught trying to learn how to read where harshly dealt with, unless of course they had the permission of the Church or the Nobles.

The majority of information in the United States government is now owned and managed by the vast corporate military industrial complex in the name of "Homeland Security and Defense Secrets."

Its just part of our "transition" from a republic into an Empire.

Nothing to see here, move along.

-Hack

A little caution (3, Insightful)

liegeofmelkor (978577) | more than 6 years ago | (#20529893)

First, I'll state that I think PRISM is a farce and the government (and the people they represent) have every right to demand access to the works they fund. However, I'd like to introduce a little balance to this discussion. While the tenets behind the movement to open access are simple and obvious, and a general framework for an open access system can be sketched out by any non-expert (evidenced in this forum), the consequences of screwing up in the transition demand caution and a great deal of forethought. The current system, although fostering spiraling prices, is relatively good at ensuring quality, reproducible and generally true work (to the best of the authors' knowledge) gets published. The incidents of researchers fabricating or distorting data is rare enough that it usually makes large headlines in the news. Peer-review is directly responsible for the level of credibility in academic publications. However, the peer-review process itself doesn't weed out fabrications or distortions in data, because researchers doing very specialized experiments could, hypothetically, forge data convincingly enough to fool peers in the field (for a few years at least). The aura of a thorough and organized system (and the fear and stigma of getting caught), however, force the potentially less-than-ethical researchers (a non-trivial fraction of academians seeking recognition and advancement) to police themselves and maintain ethical standards. If even the impression of a less rigorous, less organized system infiltrates the scientific community, it could embolden the more ambitious (for advancement) researchers to lower their ethical standards (some even subconsciously), producing a feedback loop as their less-than-rigorous research enters the field. This would be a HUGE blow to forward progress in research and could take decades to rectify. Granted, this is a low-probability outcome! However, the gov.t isn't known for meticulous foresight and smooth transitions to new business models (neither is the market system for that matter). So, even though I disagree with PRISM, I'm glad assholes like them are out there to slow the progress of the movement. Consider them as a skeptical peer-reviewer. If the open access model is sound (and I think it is), it will come through in the end, and the critiques incorporated from the likes of PRISM will only make it stronger and more rigorous. They're a balancing force, although a malevolent one.

Re:A little caution (1)

Seiruu (808321) | more than 6 years ago | (#20530557)

As I understand it, OA is essentially shifting the funding from publishers (who get their revenue from scientific parties) to authors-institutions (the scientific parties) and opening up access to them.

It doesn't in fact touch the peer review process at all. OA does not improve, nor worsen the quality of the peer review process, nor the articles undergoing that process. Journals can still and likely will exist even with 100% OA. Their role could and will still be mediating authors and referees through the peer review process, and becoming a somewhat credible quality indicator.

Open Access is not like Open Source, as there IS funding available for Open Access, but it's simply being used in the wrong way. Once libraries stop paying for subscriptions, they can pay for funding the journals, and have them go OA. The effect would be the same, only that more people can access the literature, and publishers will have to find a different source of revenue.

Support research licensed under a Creative Commons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20533283)

There are many initiatives to change the way scientific research is communicated / published. An example of this is http://www.topsan.org/ [topsan.org]

Your contributions can really help to improve the system, where each contribution is not too small to be published. Also at topsan.org the scientific facts can be updated and you do not have to read all the papers in a search for the most recent scientific facts.

Your expertise in the website design, protein and protein's structure annotation, and any useful suggestions submitted here https://www.topsan.org/Forum [topsan.org] are welcomed.

You get what you pay for (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20533447)

Peer reviewed journals serve an immense purpose in the scientific community. A journal costs money to pay for editors to organize the information, as well as assigning reviewers to submitted articles. These journals generally require the author turn over copyright to them, so they can publish exclusively and pay their expenses.
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