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Bill to Require Open Access to Scientific Papers

samzenpus posted more than 6 years ago | from the share-your-answers dept.

The Almighty Buck 213

Ponca City, We Love You writes "Congress is expected to vote this week on a bill requiring investigators funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to publish research papers only in journals that are made freely available within one year of publication. Until now, repeated efforts to legislate such a mandate have failed under pressure from the well-heeled journal publishing industry and some nonprofit scientific societies whose educational activities are supported by the profits from journals that they publish. Scientists assert that open access will speed innovation by making it easier for them to share and build on each other's findings. The measure is contained in a spending bill that boosts the biomedical agency's effective budget by 3.1%, to $29.8 billion in 2008. The open-access requirement in the bill would apply only during fiscal year 2008; it would need to be renewed in yearly spending bills in the future."

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clever wording (1)

User 956 (568564) | more than 6 years ago | (#21275327)

Bill to Require Open Access to Scientific Papers

Oh, they'll give you free access to all the papers you want. But nobody said anything about charging for the ink.

Re:clever wording (5, Insightful)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#21275399)

Oh, they'll give you free access to all the papers you want. But nobody said anything about charging for the ink.
All of the journals I read are published online as well as in print form. Some (such as the BMJ) already open up their papers after a period, but enforcing this to happen within 1 year of publication is _fantastic_ news, because, even if I am 12 months behind my boss who paid for his articles, I am still 4 or 5 years ahead of my juniors who have only just finished reading their textbook.

Re:clever wording (1)

Abeydoun (1096003) | more than 6 years ago | (#21276917)

My only issue with this is that it essentially takes away a key source of income most researchers who don't receive funding through federal grants have access to. Under ideal conditions where the fed is non-politically biased and purely scientifically subjective, this is a non-issue. But in a world where the religious ideals of those in power can be directly intertwined with scientific grant distribution (as is the case with stem-cell research), this will likely clamp down on one of the main sources of funding for governmentally deemed morally controversial research subjects.

That being said, I often do get frustrated during the many times when I'm researching topics while not on campus grounds where I have easy access to most scientific journals. I should probably just set up a vpn for such occasions.

Re:clever wording (1)

Ichoran (106539) | more than 6 years ago | (#21277291)

Journals don't pay their authors, and even if they did, the amount of money involved would be insignificant compared to the cost of research.

The amount of research that goes into an average biology paper, including salaries, is probably on the order of $250k. Full costs for publishing are around $10k, and journals generally do only marginally better than break even.

Open access papers don't have anything to do with funding research--they are just a way for information to be widely disseminated.

Re:clever wording (2, Interesting)

Abeydoun (1096003) | more than 6 years ago | (#21277463)

Maybe I should have been more clear. As stated in the article, some of the journal publishing companies are non-profit in the sense that the profit which they gather from selling subscriptions of their journals is redistributed towards grants to other research projects. In fact these journals provide for a significant source of grants for projects which are not qualified for federal funding. So by harming the business model of these journals, this bill could essentially clamp down on said research giving government even more control over who can do what research.

Hope that makes more sense...

Re:clever wording (3, Informative)

tsa (15680) | more than 6 years ago | (#21277995)

Full costs for publishing are around $10k, and journals generally do only marginally better than break even.


I don't believe that. Everything that you have to do to have a paper published costs YOU money. You have to pay for the research, and to get the paper published you have to pay a fee of around 80 USD per page. To get your paper published you usually have to give up the copyright, and to read your own paper you have to pay for the journal subscription, which usually is an insane amount of money. On the other hand, the publisher is happy to not pay you anything for peer reviewing other papers (which costs at least an afternoon if you want to do it right), or do other work for them. Only if your are employed directly by the publisher you will get paid. So scientific publishers have much less costs than magazines and newspapers (they don't have to pay their authors), and they get much much more money from subscriptions. I think they earn quite a lot of money.

Re:clever wording (2, Informative)

discontinuity (792010) | more than 6 years ago | (#21277369)

Whaa? You might get paid to publish a Harry Potter novel, but not a scientific article. In fact, it isn't uncommon for authors to have to pay to have their work published (e.g., there are many journals for which the authors must pay to publish if their paper exceeds a certain number of pages).

If anything, pushing toward a free publication model would only serve to help researchers who have limited funding because that would be less $ spent on accessing the research of others. (Though this expense tends to be borne not by individual researchers as much as by their institutions, and thus is more of an indirect overhead expense to them.)

Re:clever wording (2, Interesting)

Genda (560240) | more than 6 years ago | (#21277549)

I love the idea that this might happen...

My only concern is that publicly available scientific material might cause the cerebrally challenged (as frequents the Bush Whitehouse), to be more inclined to censor scientific material paid for by public funds before they even get to be displayed. They've made it perfectly clear that when the truth is either incovenient, or embarassing to their religious affiliations, or whichever corporate interest that owns them this week, they haven't the slightest discomfort in hacking the truth right out of a good scientific research paper.

I'm all for public information... sadly we don't currently live in time or place that empowers great thinking... or any other thinking for that matter.

Within a year (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#21275359)

Gives them time to file patents.

Having access to papers is one step, but surely any fruits of this research should also be placed in the public domain.

horrible idea (1, Interesting)

sentientbrendan (316150) | more than 6 years ago | (#21275653)

>Having access to papers is one step, but surely any fruits of this research should also be
>placed in the public domain.

Place the fruits of research in the public domain? Let me ask you something, who do you think *does* research an *why*? Do you have any idea how much it costs to develop a new drug?

Most people agree that the current software patent system is bullshit, but even if you think software patents should be thrown out entirely, what about drug patents? Without pharmaceutical patents, there's no reason whatsoever to develop a given drug, or to publish the results of research. As it is, if pharma patents were removed, much of medical research would halt and never progress beyond where it is now.

We want researchers to publish the results of their research without worrying about giving away the product of their companies research to competitors. Currently, patents and only patents protect this system.

Re:horrible idea (4, Informative)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 6 years ago | (#21275785)

I don't think the parent was talking about putting privately-funded research into the public domain; the issue is research funded with public monies, by the NIH.

I agree with him, that research paid for by the public ought to belong to the public; you shouldn't be able to get the government to pay for your research and then use it to get a patent that lets you deprive others of the fruits of that research for a few decades.

Nobody is saying that a company can't pay for research itself and reap the benefits of it.

Re:horrible idea (2, Interesting)

mi (197448) | more than 6 years ago | (#21276435)

I don't think the parent was talking about putting privately-funded research into the public domain; the issue is research funded with public monies, by the NIH.

American public funds it, but placing it into public domain — as GGP poster wants — would make it automatically freely available to the rest of the world too.

Making stuff is easy these days — designing, researching, developing it is hard. I would like us to be able to pick and choose, what we give away, and what we keep.

Re:horrible idea (1)

AeroIllini (726211) | more than 6 years ago | (#21277031)

American public funds it, but placing it into public domain -- as GGP poster wants -- would make it automatically freely available to the rest of the world too.
There are many parts of the rest of the world (in fact, many of the places where making things is easy) that don't give a rat's ass about American IP laws, and would just take it anyway. I don't think placing it in the public domain will change much globally.

Re:horrible idea (1)

MacDork (560499) | more than 6 years ago | (#21277979)

Nobody is saying that a company can't pay for research itself and reap the benefits of it.

Pardon? I must have missed a memo... slashbots insist privately funded science is bunk. Just ask any of them the next time an oil company funds a study on climate change. Hell, these crackpots [slashdot.org] have even decided the evil cigarette companies are in on the 'scam' too!

Re:horrible idea (4, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#21275857)

Let me ask you something, who do you think *does* research an *why*?

College professors and because they love it.

Without pharmaceutical patents, there's no reason whatsoever to develop a given drug,

Really? Bettering the health of the general population isn't any incentive at all?

pharma patents were removed, much of medical research would halt and never progress beyond where it is now.

Nope. It wouldn't change the demand for new drugs at all, just the process by which they are developed. Instead of handing over large chunks of public money to pharma companies which they then leverage into large chunks of private money, we could put both public and private money into public research. And in doing so we could better prioritize research. You know, fund the things that actually help people instead of what's just going to turn a quick buck.

Re:horrible idea (1, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 6 years ago | (#21276105)

Really? Bettering the health of the general population isn't any incentive at all?
Do you have any idea what you are talking about, or are you just talking out of your ass? The average cost of a new pharmaceutical in the US is roughly $1.2 billion, and this is something that an individual or corporation is just going to do out of the goodness of their hearts when other corporations can immediately go out and sell the same pills without having the overhead that is R&D? I find that hard to believe.

Nope. It wouldn't change the demand for new drugs at all, just the process by which they are developed. Instead of handing over large chunks of public money to pharma companies which they then leverage into large chunks of private money, we could put both public and private money into public research. And in doing so we could better prioritize research. You know, fund the things that actually help people instead of what's just going to turn a quick buck.
It wouldn't change the demand, but it would pretty much ensure that no credible lab would bother to make invent the drugs and get them through trials. You have to actually be able to turn a profit in order to pay for the research that gets done. I know that its popular to badmouth the pharmaceutical industry, but developing a new medication is an extremely large commitment, you have to have the cash in order to fund the research, most of the prospective drugs don't even make it to the first stage of testing.

Re:horrible idea (3, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#21276649)

Ultimately, the money should come from grants. Pay the researchers reasonable salaries, don't waste money on marketing and we should be in a better position to fund research than we are now. The money the pharmaceutical industry spends on research comes from the public anyway, either in the form of grants or selling the drugs to the public. Why not cut out the middle man? I really don't care if research isn't profitable because it's best done by non-profit institutions anyway.

Re:horrible idea (1)

Smauler (915644) | more than 6 years ago | (#21278219)

Much of the money that the pharmaceutical industry gains is from overseas sales. It is a net gain for the country that the industry is in, and a net loss for the country it is not. Cutting out the middle man might work if exports were not taken into consideration. As it is, unless we get a multinational agreement not to allow commercial drug companies (haha), they will always be around somewhere.

I do agree with your sentiments, and do believe that government funded medical research should be a higher priority.

Re:horrible idea (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21277089)

The average cost of a new pharmaceutical in the US is roughly $1.2 billion

No. That's the cost of developing a drug + a couple of hundred million dollar advertising campaigns + millions to each of the board members so they can keep their 20% annual pay increase. Real costs are a fraction of that.

Do you have any idea what you are talking about, or are you just talking out of your ass?

Pot, kettle, black.

drug patents don't work out economically (3, Interesting)

m2943 (1140797) | more than 6 years ago | (#21275957)

what about drug patents? Without pharmaceutical patents, there's no reason whatsoever to develop a given drug,

Drug patents are an even better candidate for throwing out because the drug patent system isn't working.

Right now, a big part of drug development is already publicly funded. Furthermore, the government pays a huge amount of money for those patented drugs. If you do the math, it would be cheaper for the government (i.e., cost less in your and my tax dollars) to do away with drug patents altogether and pay for the full development cost of each drug.

And that's assuming that the drugs that are being developed are actually useful. In fact, market forces cause companies to develop the most profitable drugs, but those are not the drugs we actually need. Drugs that provide symptomatic relief for common, non-fatal illnesses are profitable. They become even more profitable if they are simply minor variations on well-known drugs (i.e., provide little additional benefit). Drugs that actually cure, that are based on public domain substances, or that go for risky and small patient populations are not profitable, but those are the drugs that we actually need.

Funded by NIH - paid for by the people (2, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#21276009)

The context here is for NIH-funded papers about NIH-funded developmnents.

If the people have already paid for the development (through NIH funding) then who should benefit from the patent?

The whole ethics of patenting is a seperate subject, but in general, I'd think that if public money funded the development then the fruits should be put in the public domain.

Re:Funded by NIH - paid for by the people (1)

UncleTogie (1004853) | more than 6 years ago | (#21276479)

If the people have already paid for the development (through NIH funding) then who should benefit from the patent?

The whole ethics of patenting is a seperate subject, but in general, I'd think that if public money funded the development then the fruits should be put in the public domain.

Here's a possibility:

Establish a trust fund, whose purpose is paying OUR income tax. Individuals and couples ONLY; no business or corporate entities need apply. Any monies gained from any publicly-paid patents goes to this account, and right back to pay our taxes FOR us. Any "extra" assets {if any} can be used toward a universal health care system, Pell grants, or even to shore up Social Security.

Re:horrible idea (2, Insightful)

daeg (828071) | more than 6 years ago | (#21276163)

So before we had these huge pharmaceutical companies and drug patents, we didn't have any medical research, right?

Re:horrible idea (1)

Jeffrey Baker (6191) | more than 6 years ago | (#21276291)

The funny thing is that dozens of major biotech and pharma companies are headquartered in Switzerland precisely because in the recent past that nation did not recognize patents at all. Those companies which are now patent hard-liners were once patent free-loaders.

Re:horrible idea (1)

Goldsmith (561202) | more than 6 years ago | (#21276357)

If you publish research in a scientific journal (even if you have to pay to read it), it is considered public domain. You won't find pharma companies talking about patentable research in papers or at conferences. You'll find lots of talk about the un-patentable parts of that research, or research that may not be profitable.

So... scientists already give up substantial rights to their work to publish papers. This has led to less financial incentive to become a scientist, but has created intense competition for respect and citations. Opening up the publications will further encourage the current system of citations-as-scientific-currency that exists.

Re:horrible idea (1)

GrEp (89884) | more than 6 years ago | (#21276377)

Health insurers would start funding drug research if drug patents were abolished. So would hospitals, chemical engineering firms, ...

It wouldn't cry a tear if the "drug" companies were divested. They spend way to much money on marketing instead of research. Their marketing does very little for the health of the patient, and in cases like Vioxx is even detremental by taking patients away from better suited medications.

Re:horrible idea (2, Insightful)

ElDuque (267493) | more than 6 years ago | (#21277833)

"Comrades, what is our research quota this month?"

"2000 science-hours! We have already reached half that!"

"Good, then we will be assured of our grant next month!"

The point is...the free market is best (not perfect, but best) at directing funds to the 'best' research.
If research were centrally funded, how would one decide which to fund? How would one pick a decider?

medical treatments... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21277277)

...are a serious demand economy, that isn't going away anytime soon. Big for profit pharmcos spend way more on marketing than they do on research. A combination of medical x-prizes and funding from large insurance companies and medical co-op type orgs (HMOs that didn't suck in other words) that could be organized by consumers would result in *more* money going directly to research and *cheaper* medical care for all, especially if the results were universally open sourced. Remember, the researchers and insurance carriers, etc are all humans, too, they need medical care the same as anyone else, and the more effective medical care gets, the more loot the insurance carriers can keep, meaning they could still drop rates yet make more money. I mean, damn, this is a winning combination if we could snatch the damn vultures away from medicine.. What would get cut out would be the middleman skimming and that's about it. So who cares really?

If you want out of the box thinking for new medical advances, out of the box economic thinking should be a part of it. Your tired old uber closed source capitalist model for medicine was semi OK in the 19th and 20th centuries, but this is a new time now with new universal high speed communications and the potential for fast knowledge sharing and fast development and collaborative research. Look at the other article about the medical researchers using shared grid time, look at folding@home and etc. Sharing *works*. Greed works, but not as good as sharing. Linux and FOSS works, from sharing. Medical care expenses are going up way faster than inflation, and that is fast enough. If it isn't fixed soon, only the very richest people will be able to afford modern medical care. Is that what we as human society want, a few billionaires at the top and a few more people under them as the only ones to afford good medical advances, because they get a lock on it, close the source off? I think that's just a stupid idea myself.

    Look at the US a rich nation, yet every year for the past several years the number of people who have full medical coverage as a percentage of the population is dropping, and those that do have it keep paying higher premiums and have to absorb higher co payments, when there is *no need for that* to happen, if we were to open the process up and remove the middleman skikmmers who add *nothing* to the solutions other than their take.

  Open access scholarly articles are a very welcome step in the right direction, we can all be friendly together as humans when it comes to something as necessary as medical care, and especially when it is already publiclly fnded. They shouldn't even wait a year, it should be immediately available, like the stuff at doaj.org and PlosOne. We can use the same bulk dollars that are thrown at the medical establishment today and get way more results just by sharing, and the actual thinkers and doers (HG2TG) there can still be compensated adequately.

ike's asshole had open access :-) (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21275417)

When I think of dirty old men, I think of Ike Thomas and when I think about Ike I get a hard-on that won't quit.

Sixty years ago, I worked in what was once my grandfather's greenhouses. Gramps had died a year earlier and Grandma, now in her seventies had been forced to sell to the competition. I got a job with the new owners and mostly worked the range by myself. That summer, they hired a man to help me get the benches ready for the fall planting.

Ike always looked like he was three days from a shave and his whiskers were dirty white, shaded by the brim of his battered felt fedora.

He did not chew tobacco but the corners of his mouth turned down in a way that, at any moment, I expected a trickle of thin, brown juice to creep down his chin. His bushy, brown eyebrows shaded pale, gray eyes.

The old-timer extended his hand, lifted his leg like a dog about to mark a bush and let go the loudest fart I ever heard. The old fellow then winked at me, "Ike Thomas is the name and playing pecker's my game."

I thought he said, "Checkers." I was nineteen, green as grass. I said, "I was never much good at that game."

"Now me," said Ike, "I just love jumping men ..."

"I'll bet you do."

"... and grabbing on to their peckers," said Ike.

"I thought we were talking about ..."

"You like jumping old men's peckers?"

I shook my head.

"I reckon we'll have to remedy that." Ike lifted his right leg and let go another tremendous fart. "He said, "We best be getting to work."

That summer of 1941 was a more innocent time. I learned most of the sex I knew from those little eight pager cartoon booklets of comic-page characters going at it. Young men read them in the privacy of an outside john, played with themselves, by themselves and didn't brag about it. Sometimes, we got off with a trusted friend and helped each other out.

Under the greenhouse glass, the temperature some times climbed over the hundred degree mark. I had worked stripped to the waist since April and was as brown as a berry. On only his second day on the job and in the middle of August, Ike wore old fashioned overalls. Those and socks in his high-top work shoes was every stitch he wore. When he bent forward, the bib front billowed out and I could see the white curly hairs on his chest and belly.

"Me? I just love to eat pussy!" Ike licked his lips from corner to corner then sticking his tongue out far enough that the tip could touch the end of his nose. He said, A man's not a man till he knows first hand, the flavor of a lady's pussy."

"People do that?"

He winked. "Of course the taste of a hard cock ain't to be sneezed at neither. Now you answer me, yes or no. Does a man's cock taste salty or not?"

"I never ..."

"Well, old Ike's willing to let you find out."

"No way."

"Just teasing," said Ike. "But don't give me no sass or I'll show you my ass." He winked. "Might show it to you anyway, if you was to ask."

"Why would I do that?"

"Curiosity, maybe. I'm guessing you never had a good piece of man ass."

"I'm no queer."

"Now don't be getting judgmental. Enjoying what's at hand ain't being queer. It's taking pleasure where you find it with anybody willing." Ike slipped a hand into the side slit of his overalls and I could tell he was fondling and straightening out his cock. "Now I admit I got me a hole that satisfied a few guys."

I swallowed, hard.

Ike winked. "Care to be asshole buddies?"

---

We worked steadily until noon. Ike drew a worn pocket watch from the bib pocket of his loose overalls and croaked, "Bean time. But first its time to reel out our limber hoses and make with the golden arches before lunch."

I followed Ike to the end of the greenhouse where he stopped at the outside wall of the potting shed. He opened his fly, fished inside, and finger-hooked a soft white penis with a pouting foreskin puckered half an inch past the hidden head.

"Yes sir," breathed Ike, "this old peter needs some draining." He exhaled a sigh as a strong, yellow stream splattered against the boards and ran down to soak into the earthen floor.

He caught me looking down at him. He winked. "Like what you're viewing, Boy?"

I looked away.

"You taking a serious interest in old Ike's pecker?"

I shook my head.

"Well you just haul out yourn and let old Ike return the compliment."

Feeling trapped and really having to go, I fumbled at my fly, turned away slightly, withdrew my penis and strained to start.

"Take your time boy. Let it all hang out. Old Ike's the first to admit that he likes looking at another man's pecker." He flicked away the last drop of urine and shook his limp penis vigorously.

I tried not to look interested.

"Yes sir, this old peepee feels so good out, I just might leave it out." He turned to give me a better view.

"What if somebody walks in?"

Ike shrugged. He looked at my strong yellow stream beating against the boards and moved a step closer. "You got a nice one,boy."

I glanced over at him. His cock was definitely larger and beginning to stick straight out. I nodded toward his crotch. "Don't you think you should put that away?"

"I got me strictly a parlor prick," said Ike. "Barely measures six inches." He grinned. "Of course it's big enough around to make a mouthful." He ran a thumb and forefinger along its length and drawing his foreskin back enough to expose the tip of the pink head. "Yersiree." He grinned, revealing nicotine stained teeth. "It sure feels good, letting the old boy breathe."

I knew I should button up and move away. I watched his fingers moving up and down the thickening column.

"You like checking out this old man's cock?"

I nodded. In spite of myself, my cock began to swell.

"Maybe we should have ourselves a little pecker pulling party." Ike slid his fingers back and forth on his expanding shaft and winked. "I may be old but I'm not against doing some little pud pulling with a friend."

I shook my head.

"Maybe I'll give my balls some air. Would you like a viewing of old Ike's hairy balls?"

I swallowed hard and moistened my dry lips.

He opened another button on his fly and pulled out his scrotum. "Good God, It feels good to set 'em free. Now let's see yours."

"Why?"

"Just to show you're neighborly," said Ike.

"I don't think so." I buttoned up and moved into the potting shed.

Ike followed, his cock and balls protruding from the front of his overalls. "Overlook my informality." Ike grinned. "As you can see I ain't bashful."

I nodded and took my sandwich from the brown paper bag.

"Yessir," said Ike. "I just might have to have myself an old fashioned peter pulling all by my lonesome. He unhooked a shoulder strap and let his overalls drop around his ankles.

I took a bite of my sandwich but my eyes remained on Ike.

"Yessiree," said Ike, "I got a good one if I do say so myself. Gets nearly as hard as when I was eighteen. You know why?"

I shook my head.

"Cause I keep exercising him. When I was younger I was pulling on it three time a day. Still like to do him every day I can."

"Some say you'll go blind if you do that too much."

"Bull-loney!" Don't you believe that shit. I been pulling my pud for close to fifty years and I didn't start till I was fifteen."

I laughed.

"You laughing at my little peter, boy?"

"Your hat." I pointed to the soiled, brown fedora cocked on his head. That and his overalls draped about his ankles were his only items of apparel. In between was a chest full of gray curly hair, two hairy legs. Smack between them stood an erect, pale white cock with a tip of foreskin still hiding the head.

"I am one hairy S.O.B.," said Ike.

"I laughed at you wearing nothing but a hat."

"Covers up my bald spot," said Ike. "I got more hair on my ass than I got on my head. Want to see?"

"Your head?"

"No, Boy, my hairy ass and around my tight, brown asshole." He turned, reached back with both hands and parted his ass cheeks to reveal the small, puckered opening. "There it is, Boy, the entrance lots of good feelings. Tell me, Boy, how would you like to put it up old Ike's ass?"

"I don't think so."

"That'd be the best damned piece you ever got."

"We shouldn't be talking like this."

"C'mon now, confess, don't this make your cock perk up a little bit?"

"I reckon," I confessed.

"You ever seen an old man's hard cock before," asked Ike.

"My grandpa's when I was twelve or thirteen."

"How'd that come about?"

He was out in the barn and didn't know I was around. He dropped his pants. It was real big he did things to it. He saw me and he turned around real fast but I saw it."

"What did your grandpa do?"

"He said I shouldn't be watching him doing that. He said something like grandma wouldn't give him some,' that morning and that I should get out of there and leave a poor man in peace to do what he had to do."

"Did you want to join him."

"I might have if he'd asked. He didn't."

"I like showing off my cock," said Ike. "A hard-on is something I always been proud of. A hard-on proves a man's a man. Makes me feel like a man that can do things." He looked up at me and winked. "You getting a hard-on from all this talk, son?"

I nodded and looked away.

"Then maybe you should pull it out and show old Ike what you got."

"We shouldn't."

"Hey. A man's not a man till he jacked off with a buddy."

I wanted to but I was as nervous as hell.

Ike grinned and fingered his pecker. "C'mon, Boy, between friends, a little cock showing is perfectly fine. Lets see what you got in the cock and balls department."

In spite of my reluctance, I felt the stirring in my crotch. I had curiosity that needed satisfying. It had been a long, long time since I had walked in on my grandfather.

"C'mon let's see it all."

I shook my head.

"You can join the party anytime, said Ike. "Just drop your pants and pump away."

I had the urge. There was a tingling in my crotch. My cock was definitely willing and I had a terrible need to adjust myself down there. But my timidity and the strangeness of it all held me back.

Hope you don't mind if I play out this hand." Ike grinned. "It feels like I got a winner."

I stared at his gnarled hand sliding up and down that pale, white column and I could not look away. I wet my lips and shook my head.

Old Ike's about to spout a geyser." Ike breathed harder as he winked. "Now if I just had a long finger up my ass. You interested, boy?"

I shook my head.

The first, translucent, white glob crested the top of his cock and and arced to the dirt floor. Ike held his cock at the base with thumb and forefinger and tightened noticeably with each throb of ejaculation until he was finished.

I could not believe any man could do what he had done in front of another human being.

Ike sighed with pleasure and licked his fingers. "A man ain't a man till he's tasted his own juices."

He squatted, turned on the faucet and picked up the connected hose. He directed the water between his legs and on to his still dripping prick and milked the few remaining drops of white, sticky stuff into the puddle forming at his feet. "Cool water sure feels good on a cock that just shot its wad," said Ike.

---

"Cock-tale telling time," said Old Ike. It was the next day and he rubbed the front of his dirty,worn overalls where his bulge made the fly expand as his fingers smoothed the denim around the outline of his expanding cock.

I wasn't sure what he had in mind but I knew it wasn't something my straight-laced Grandma would approve of.

"Don't you like taking your cock out and jacking it?" Ike licked his lips.

I shook my head in denial.

"Sure you do. A young man in his prime has got to be pulling his pud."

I stared at his calloused hand moving over the growing bulge at his crotch.

"Like I said," continued Ike, "I got me barely six inches when he's standing up." He winked at me. "How much you got, son?"

"Almost seven inches ..." I stuttered. "Last time I measured."

"And I'm betting it feels real good with your fist wrapped around it."

"I don't do ..."

"Everybody does it." He scratched his balls and said, "I'll show you mine if you show me yours." Then, looking me in the eye, he lifted his leg like a dog at a tree and let out a long, noisy fart.

Denying that I jacked off, I said, "I saw yours yesterday."

"A man has got to take out his pecker every once in a while." He winked and his fingers played with a button on his fly. Care to join me today?"

"I don't think so."

"What's the matter, boy? You ashamed of what's hanging 'tween your skinny legs?"

"It's not for showing off."

"That would be so with a crowd of strangers but with a friend, in a friendly showdown, where's the harm?"

"It shouldn't be shown to other people. My Grandma said that a long time ago when I went to the bathroom against a tree when I was seven."

"There's nothing like a joint pulling among friends to seal a friendship," said Ike.

I don't think so." I felt very much, ill at ease.

"Then what the fuck is it for," demanded the old man. "A good man shares his cock with his friends. How old are you boy?"

"Fifteen almost sixteen."

You ever fucked a woman?"

"No."

"Ever fucked a man?"

"Of course not."

"Son, you ain't never lived till you've fired your load up a man's tight ass."

"I didn't know men did that to each other."

"Men shove it up men's asses men all the time. They just don't talk about it like they do pussy."

"You've done that?"

"I admit this old pecker's been up a few manholes. More than a few hard cocks have shagged this old ass over the years." He shook his head, wistfully, "I still have a hankering for a hard one up the old dirt chute."

"I think that would hurt."

"First time, it usually does," agreed Ike. He took a bite from his sandwich.

I looked at my watch. Ten minutes of our lunch hour had already passed.

"We got time for a quickie," said Ike. "There's no one around to say, stop, if were enjoying ourselves."

He unhooked the slide off the button of one shoulder-strap, pushed the bib of his overalls down to let them fall to his feet.

"Showtime," said Ike. Between his legs, white and hairy, his semi-hard cock emerged from a tangled mass of brown and gray pubic hair. The foreskin, still puckered beyond the head of the cock, extended downward forty-five degrees from the horizontal but was definitely on the rise.

I could only stare at the man. Until the day before, I had never seen an older man with an erection besides my grandpa.

Ike moved his fingers along the stalk of his manhood until the head partially emerged, purplish and broad. He removed his hand for a moment and it bobbled obscenely in the subdued light of the potting shed. Ike leaned back against a bin of clay pots like a model on display. "Like I said, boy, it gets the job done."

I found it difficult not to watch. "You shouldn't ..."

"C'mon, boy. Show Ike your pecker. I'm betting it's nice and hard."

I grasped my belt and tugged on the open end. I slipped the waistband button and two more before pushing down my blue jeans and shorts down in one move. My cock bounced and slapped my belly as I straightened."

"That's a beaut." Ike stroked his pale, white cock with the purplish-pink head shining. "I'm betting it'll grow some more if you stroke it."

"We really shouldn't ..."

"Now don't tell me you never stroked your hard peter with a buddy."

"I've done that," I finally admitted,. "But he was the same age as me and it was a long time ago." I though back to the last time Chuck and me jerked each other off in the loft of our old barn. Chuck wanted more as a going away present and we had sucked each other's dicks a little bit.

"Jackin's always better when you do it with somebody," said Ike. "Then you can lend each other a helping hand."

"I don't know about that," I said.

Ike's hand continued moving on his old cock as he leaned over to inspect mine. "God Damn! Boy. That cock looks good enough to eat." Ike licked his lips. "You ever had that baby sucked?"

I shook my head as I watched the old man stroke his hard, pale cock.

"Well boy, I'd say you're packing a real mouthful for some lucky gal or guy." He grinned. "Well c'mon. Let's see you get down to some serious jacking. Old Ike's way ahead of you."

I wrapped my fist around my stiff cock and moved the foreskin up and over the head on the up stroke. On the down stroke the expanded corona of the angry, purple head stared obscenely at the naked old man.

Ike toyed with his modest six inches. "What do you think of this old man's cock?" His fist rode down to his balls and a cockhead smaller than the barrel stared back at mine.

"I guess I'm thinking this is like doing it with my grandpa."

"You ever wish you could a done this with your grandpa?"

"I thought about it a lot."

"Ever see him with a hard-on."

"I told you about that!"

"Ever think about him doing your grandma?"

"I can't imagine her ever doing anything with a man."

"Take my word for it, sonny, we know she did it or you wouldn't be here." Begrudgingly I nodded in agreement.

"Everybody fucks," said old Ike. "They fuck or they jack off."

"If you say so."

"Say sonny, your cocks getting real juicy with slickum. Want old Ike tolick some of it away?"

"You wouldn't."

Ike licked his lips as he kept his hand pistoning up and down his hard cock. "You might be surprised what old Ike might do if he was in the mood for a taste of what comes out of a hard cock."

And that is what he proceeded to do. He sucked me dry.

Then he erupted in half-a-dozen spurts shooting out and onto the dirt floor of the potting shed. He gave his cock a flip and shucked t back into his overalls. He unwrapped a sandwich from its wax paper and proceed to eat without washing his hands. He took a bite and chewed. "Nothing like it boy, a good jacking clears the cobwebs from your crotch and gives a man an appetite."

---

The following day, We skipped the preliminaries. We dropped our pants. Ike got down on his knees and sucked me until I was hard and good and wet before he stood and turned.

"C'mon boy, Shove that pretty cock up old Ike's tight, brown hole and massage old Ike's prostate.

Ike bent forward and gripped the edge of the potting bench. The lean, white cheeked buttocks parted slightly and exposed the dark brown, crinkly, puckered star of his asshole. "Now you go slow and ease it along until you've got it all the way in," he cautioned. "This old ass craves your young cock but it don't want too much too soon. You've got to let this old hole stretch to accommodate you."

"Are you sure you want to do this?"

"Easy boy, easy," he cautioned. "You feel a lot bigger than you look. Put a little more spit in your cock."

"It's awfully tight. I don't know if it's going to go or not."

"It'll go," said Ike. "There's been bigger boys than you up the old shit chute."

I slipped in the the last few inches.. "It's all in."

"I can tell," said Ike. "Your cock hairs are tickling my ass."

"Are you ready," I asked.

"How are you liking old Ike's hairy asshole so far?"

"It's real tight."

"Tighter than your fist?"

"Might be."

"Ready to throw a fuck into a man that reminds you of your grandpa."

"I reckon."

"I want you should do old Ike one more favor."

"What?"

While you're pumpin' my ass, would you reach around and play with my dick like you would your own? Would you do that for an old man?"

I reached around and took hold of his hard cock sticking out straight in front of him. I pilled the skin back and then pulled it up and over the expanded glans. I felt my own cock expand inside him as I manipulated his staff in my fingers. I imagined that my cock extended through him and I was playing with what came out the other side of him.

"C'mon, boy, ram that big cock up the old shitter and make me know it. God Damn! tickle that old prostate and make old Ike come!"

I came. And I came. Ike's tightened up on my cock and I throbbed Roman Candle bursts into that brown hole as I pressed into him. His hairy, scrawny ass flattened against my crotch and we were joined as tightly as two humans can be.

"A man's not a man till he's come in another man." said old Ike. "You made it, boy. But still, a man's not a man till he's had a hard cock poked up his ass at least once."

Every time I think of that scene, I get another hard-on. Then I remember the next day when old Ike returned the favor.

I never have managed to come that hard again. If only Ike were here.

Re:ike's asshole had open access :-) (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21277003)

this brings back memories... My first summer break from college, my pascal professor (yeah, we learned programming with pascal) recommended me for a temp job as a unix admin at a local insurance company. Mostly I wrote awk/sed scripts to reformat reports and extract numbers. Old John, the grizzled admin, took me under his wing. He taught me a lot about Unix, and a lot about buttfucking. These days, I'm the grizzled linux admin, and I think of Old John every time I teach a college boy something they won't learn in the classroom.

Not so easy (4, Informative)

smoondog (85133) | more than 6 years ago | (#21275477)

As a search scientist, I am a huge fan of open access and I have published and promoted its use in the past. However, there are more issues than just making it law. For example, PLOS Biology charges $2750 US for a single paper [plos.org]. Right now, a budget of $2-3k per year for publication is a reasonable cost, if that were to rise to $2-3k per paper, it could get very expensive, at tax payer cost and at the expense of research activity. How are we going to bring down the cost of open access, perhpas the feds should get into publishing? I am personally a fan of looking at other, perhaps less expensive options, such as creating open data repositories that are publicly funded or focusing on community driven knowledgebases that are in the public domain. Lots of papers aren't very interesting, requiring those authors to pay open access costs is a recipe for useless expense.

Re:Not so easy (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 6 years ago | (#21275753)

How much will be saved on subscription costs for libraries? Maybe the reduced library cost offsets the increased cost of publishing? Especially since for external funding, also the publication cost will likely be covered by the funding, and thus not payed by the tax payer.

Re:Not so easy (5, Insightful)

backwardMechanic (959818) | more than 6 years ago | (#21275971)

Yes, but what are the costs? You write the paper for free, and deliver it in electronic form half-way ready for publication, draw the figures, etc. It's reviewed by your peers for free. It can now be published purely in electronic form (not free, but cheap). Journal publishing houses might as well be printing money - the model needs shaking up.

Re:Not so easy (2)

dhart (1261) | more than 6 years ago | (#21276539)

I'd like Google Scholar to offer services for hosting and review of scientific papers. Perhaps then we'd see some truer-to-life cost figures possible with state-of-the-art technology. It would also be interesting if Google disclosed advertising revenue for this tiny fraction of their business.

Re:Not so easy (4, Insightful)

ahaile (147873) | more than 6 years ago | (#21276771)

You've obviously never served on a journal board or seen one's budget. Most journals barely break even. The reviewers might be "free" volunteers, but the cost of that is that you're 5th or 6th or 37th on their list of priorities, so you need a lot of paid staff hours to get them to stick to a non-glacial timeframe. And every author believes that their papers are ready for publication until you show them that half their citations are wrong or missing, that the chart they whipped up in Excel forgot to include the critical data, etc etc etc. Scientists are good at being scientists, as they should be, but they're not always good at being writers. If your overriding goal is to publish the best science, you can't just kick out the papers with these kinds of errors. You need paid people to do that kind of grunt work, and that costs money.

Re:Not so easy (5, Informative)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#21276985)

Honestly, I've given up on this debate around here (and for the record I fully support these open access policies). I used to work at a nonprofit scientific journal (small 3 person office, 15 AEs, ~45 review board members). Our print run was a little over 20,000. Our operating budget was a bit less than 1M a year. We barely broke even each year, and any extra that was made was funneled back into the next year's operating budget. We were all making average salaries and could easily have been making more in the for-profit world. Slashdotters are all convinced that they know how to run a publication for absolutely nothing. Save your breath. They simply don't want to understand that regularly producing a quality journal has costs, time, and effort associated with it.

Re:Not so easy (1)

squidfood (149212) | more than 6 years ago | (#21277247)

perhpas the feds should get into publishing?

The agency I work for has... it has a scientific report series that solicits peer-reviews among experts (not just agency insiders), performs editorial tasks, and then publishes online. Quite cost-effective, I'm told (I haven't seen the bill except for paper reprint printing costs). Problem is, it's just not "big name" so despite having similar quality in scientific content to any mid-range journal out there, and being freely available online, it's still not considered anything more than "gray lit."

Preprints (2, Interesting)

jmcharry (608079) | more than 6 years ago | (#21275483)

Unless things have changed since I was a grad student, scientific papers are circulated as preprints to others active on the subject matter. I have read that lately preprints are often hosted on PCs in the authors' lab. While this is often cited as being unfair to less well known researchers, one of my advisers pointed out that he sent out significantly more preprints than the number of people actually likely to be able to build on his work. Still, it does seem if the government is paying for the research, it should be publicly available without charge. For that matter, it should probably be unpatentable also.

This needs support (4, Informative)

digitalderbs (718388) | more than 6 years ago | (#21275517)

Publishers make cash from advertisers, from readers (subscription costs) and even the authors (charges for publications, color figures). As an academic and NIH scientist, I find it appalling that NIH funded research isn't openly accessible to the public -- I further believe that all academic publications should be free, but that's a different topic. NIH and NSF (National Science Foundation) research is really the property of the people that pay for it -- the public -- and authors have been somewhat powerless to change this broken system. We're required to adhere to the policies of high-impact journals as well as sign over copyrights in many cases.

I hope this is the beginning of new open policy for academic reports. At the very least it belongs to the US public (or whichever gov't funds the research), and at best, it belongs to the public in general. With digital costs being a fraction of printed costs, there's really no reason this shouldn't happen.

uh, economics? (2, Interesting)

Quadraginta (902985) | more than 6 years ago | (#21276149)

I'm really sympathetic to this idea. Personally, it'd be great. When I was on a university faculty, I never thought twice about access to papers. If the journal had an online version, it was pretty much guaranteed that the university had a subscription and (thanks the magic of IP mapped subscription) I could just access the stuff from my office computer.

Now, in private industry, it's a whole 'nother ballgame. If I don't want to trudge down to the God-damned library to read papers, which is very expensive in terms of my time, I'm screwed. I work for a small company, and there's no way we could afford subscriptions to all the journals I might like to occasionally read an article or two from.

But on the other hand...who is going to pay the salaries of all the people who collect and publish scientific papers? I realize we don't have so many typesetters and draftsmen and layout artists needed, since stuff can be distributed right from the author's PDF file. But that just means we have to pay for server bandwidth, people to set up good security so that the server doesn't get hacked and start spewing a billion penis-pill ads, people to program a simple but robust user interface so people can upload and download papers, pay other (expensive) people to maintain a database and good search engine so you can find what you're looking for, et cetera and so forth. No way it won't cost loads of money to distribute high-quality work broadly.

So who's going to pay for this? Should the taxpayers just take on this cost, too? The gummint set up a big server and run it? Is it really fair that all taxpayers pay for a service that a relatively miniscule number (mostly research scientists in academia and industry) are going to use? Or should it be some kind of overhead charged to each grant? (But in that case what happens to the private industry researcher not supported by a grant?)

It's a nice academic-minded wish, that stuff should just be free, but it misses the ugly fact of TANSTAAFL that all of us outside the ivory tower understand all too well. "Free" just means you personally don't pay the cost, which means some other poor schlub is paying his cost and yours. (Indeed, the fact of the matter right now is that university researchers get virtually free access to scientific journals, since the subscription fees are typically paid by the university with tax-free money, and the massive cost of providing that is paid for my researchers in the private sector, who pay enormous fees out of taxable income for their subscriptions.)

I don't have any good simple answers, and I agree something should be done, as the present system is Byzantine and unfair, and probably needlessly expensive -- but a blind mandate from Congress that research results should be "freely" available, unless accompanied by some plausible, fully-funded plan to pay for making it available, is just more unreal lawyerly crap like legislating that all children must test above average, declaring poverty and stupidity illegal, requiring all cars to get a billion miles per gallon by 2025, or defining pi as 3.

Re:uh, economics? (1)

digitalderbs (718388) | more than 6 years ago | (#21276489)

It's not a simple problem, I agree, but I don't think the solution has to be very complicated either. For example, the NIH has much experience in maintaining large, secure, open databases.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez [nih.gov]

I do think the scientific community would get behind an NIH initiative to publish papers through the NIH. The NIH employs tens of thousands of people, and thousands of IT people.

More importantly, tons of profitable websites exist that disseminate information that costs a lot of money to publish. Open journals can be ad supported like any other website. There are probably other solutions that may work better, but it's not an insurmountable ideal.

More importantly, it's not a matter of convenience. It's a matter of principle.

uh, common sense? (1)

Scudsucker (17617) | more than 6 years ago | (#21277039)

But on the other hand...who is going to pay the salaries of all the people who collect and publish scientific papers? I realize we don't have so many typesetters and draftsmen and layout artists needed, since stuff can be distributed right from the author's PDF file. But that just means we have to pay for server bandwidth, people to set up good security so that the server doesn't get hacked and start spewing a billion penis-pill ads, people to program a simple but robust user interface so people can upload and download papers, pay other (expensive) people to maintain a database and good search engine so you can find what you're looking for, et cetera and so forth. No way it won't cost loads of money to distribute high-quality work broadly.

We're already paying for all of that! Where do you think journals come up with the money for layout, printing and bandwidth? By charging us for access to research that we paid for in the first place! And aside from the physical costs, add salaries for these middle men, plus their lobbying to Congress to insure they can keep being leeches. Publicly financed access would be a insignificant fraction of continuing the private journal racket, and complaining about it is just another penny-wise pound-stupid reaction with those of an irrational fear of government.

Re:uh, economics? (1)

ealex292 (758889) | more than 6 years ago | (#21277329)

Um, funding?

You write: "I don't have any good simple answers, and I agree something should be done, as the present system is Byzantine and unfair, and probably needlessly expensive -- but a blind mandate from Congress that research results should be "freely" available, unless accompanied by some plausible, fully-funded plan to pay for making it available, is just more unreal lawyerly crap like legislating that all children must test above average, declaring poverty and stupidity illegal, requiring all cars to get a billion miles per gallon by 2025, or defining pi as 3."

From the summary: "The measure is contained in a spending bill that boosts the biomedical agency's effective budget by 3.1%, to $29.8 billion in 2008." So, about $1B extra is being allocated, partially (I assume) to pay for any extra costs.

Presumably, grant amounts would be increased slightly to pay for publication costs. Industry researchers can pick another journal which isn't all free to publish in (if any still exist) or their companies can absorb the extra costs (which, I suspect, are not all that high compared to the research costs, although I'm not sure).

Re:This needs support (1)

OpieTaylor (144173) | more than 6 years ago | (#21276541)

Unsurprisingly, Slashdot commentors think that the U.S. Congress should give us something for nothing. However, this law will likely disturb the economics of academic publishing, which could have serious consequences.

Academic journals don't just print to paper submitted articles; their real value is quality control: organizing peer reviews and editing, i.e., determining what is fit to print. In research, quality control is extremely valuable, and if Congress appropriates their means of re-couping their costs, then those quality controls may disappear.

The fact that the research behind the paper may be taxpayer-funded is just a distraction. If journals start turning down papers based on the funds source for the research, then those research funds are just wasted.

Re:This needs support (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21276957)

Unsurprisingly, Slashdot commentors think that the U.S. Congress should give us something for nothing.

We paid for the research in the first place, dipshit. That we should have to pay, again, to access what we paid for is indefensible.

However, this law will likely disturb the economics of academic publishing, which could have serious consequences.

Disturb some leeches, you mean. Good riddance.

Academic journals don't just print to paper submitted articles; their real value is quality control: organizing peer reviews and editing, i.e., determining what is fit to print. In research, quality control is extremely valuable, and if Congress appropriates their means of re-couping their costs, then those quality controls may disappear.

Open access doesn't mean QC goes down the tubes. Go away, tool.

Re:This needs support (1)

tburkhol (121842) | more than 6 years ago | (#21277161)

As an academic and NIH scientist, I find it appalling that NIH funded research isn't openly accessible to the public -- I further believe that all academic publications should be free, but that's a different topic. NIH already encourages authors to archive NIH-funded, accepted manuscripts in Pub Med Central http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/ [nih.gov] . Some journals do this automagically, some will encourage you to do it yourself, some will not mention PMC, but still allow authors to submit. Perhaps they haven't done so well publicizing this to their intramural scientists, but this is a great way to get federally funded research freely distributed through federally funded servers with enough of a time lag that mercenary journals can still retain some value in subscriptions.

Sorry, not a terrible great idea.. (4, Insightful)

damneinstien (939730) | more than 6 years ago | (#21275521)

I have modpoints, but I just had to post here.

Though in theory the idea sounds great, the issue becomes that there aren't too many open-access journals that are prestigious. This is partly because of the high cost of maintaining scientific peer review. Anybody managing a journal must keep enlist reviewers, make sure reviewers review, edit, do layout, maintain a highly dynamic website and a bunch of other expensive tasks. It makes sense then that there should be a way for journals to recoup their expenses. I don't think forcing top authors to publish in lesser known journals is the way.

A better solution, I feel, would be to ensure that the (NIH grant winning) authors pay an up-front cost to ensure open-access for their articles. Most of the big name publishing groups I'm familiar with (i.e. Science, Nature, Elsevier, etc.) allow this. The cost is usually not prohibitive (~1000 USD) and would be a better solution for ensuring that the science paid for by government agencies is open to everyone.

Re:Sorry, not a terrible great idea.. (5, Interesting)

neapolitan (1100101) | more than 6 years ago | (#21275695)

I'm a researching physician -- You did not take your own points to the logical conclusion:

A great deal (almost all) research has an NIH component of funding. Thus, if the bill goes through, *all journals will open their access* rather than have the scientists publish in lesser known journals, which will instantly become prestigious. The only articles that a 'closed' journal could publish would be those from industry or private/semiprivate funding sources (e.g. HHMI).

This is an indirect way of forcing open access to journals, which is a *great* thing.

Many journals have already opened up archive access. For instance, the New England Journal of Medicine http://nejm.org/ [nejm.org] has its archive with free access, and also releases "important" or widely read articles for free immediately.

For the average scientist (including me) at a large institution, this has no effect. All of the hospital / university computers are whitelisted for almost all major journals by IP given the hospital / institution subscription. This will still occur, as I need journal access for articles when they come out, but this open archive access will benefit those not tied to major universities or private doctors out in the community.

Of note, it is an unspoken agreement in science that researchers at major institutions help others. Rarely we will receive an email from a doctor / researcher in Bumbletown, Argentina asking "Can you send me article from 1997 in X journal, they want $399 USD for an archive copy," I have a patient with this reported disease, etc.

They get a .pdf attachment in reply.

Re:Sorry, not a terrible great idea.. (1)

AeroIllini (726211) | more than 6 years ago | (#21276961)

Rarely we will receive an email from a doctor / researcher in Bumbletown, Argentina asking "Can you send me article from 1997 in X journal, they want $399 USD for an archive copy," I have a patient with this reported disease, etc.

They get a .pdf attachment in reply.
Expect a call from the JIAA's lawyers shortly.

Re:Sorry, not a terrible great idea.. (1)

Hays (409837) | more than 6 years ago | (#21275709)

What's preventing your "better solution" based on the wording of this bill?

I am a scientist and I very strongly support this requirement. I (and most other computer scientists) already put our papers online for free, but that's not true in some peripheral research fields that interest me. It's stupid for taxpayer funded research not to be available to everyone.

Re:Sorry, not a terrible great idea.. (2, Insightful)

Etherwalk (681268) | more than 6 years ago | (#21275787)

> ensuring that the science paid for by government agencies US taxpayers is open to everyone.

fixed that for you.

Re:Sorry, not a terrible great idea.. (1)

benna (614220) | more than 6 years ago | (#21275789)

How is your solution not perfectly acceptable under provisions of the bill? I don't believe it requires that the research be published in a journal that give open access to all of the articles it publishes, but rather just to the NIH research itself.

Re:Sorry, not a terrible great idea.. (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#21276001)

Anybody managing a journal must keep enlist reviewers, make sure reviewers review, edit, do layout, maintain a highly dynamic website and a bunch of other expensive tasks. It makes sense then that there should be a way for journals to recoup their expenses.

Gee, I dunno... Maybe they could get a grant?! If we're willing to spend billions on research don't you think we can find a couple million to help get the results of that research to people who need it? The money the publishers make is coming from the public anyway, in the form of subscription fees that come from research grants. Lets just cut out the middle man.

Also, running a journal is pretty low overhead. Reviewers work for free. In most cases researchers have to PAY THE PUBLISHER to get in print. The only value a publisher adds is their name. It's a first class racket, and an embarassment to the scientific process.

bullshit (1, Informative)

m2943 (1140797) | more than 6 years ago | (#21276041)

Though in theory the idea sounds great, the issue becomes that there aren't too many open-access journals that are prestigious.

Well, and this legislation fixes that by forcing prestigious journals to either become open access or go out of business.

This is partly because of the high cost of maintaining scientific peer review. Anybody managing a journal must keep enlist reviewers, make sure reviewers review, edit,

Peer review, editing, and peer review management are handled by unpaid volunteers.

do layout

Even if the journal does all the typesetting, that is a trivial cost given the uniformity of layout and desktop publishing tools available.

maintain a highly dynamic website and a bunch of other expensive tasks.

The "highly dynamic websites" are based on standard software packages that require about as much work to install and maintain as your average Wiki. Furthermore, that work is usually shared between dozens of journals for the same publisher, so the cost per journal is negligible.

If publishers need more than 1/2 admin position for a journal plus overhead, they are doing something wrong. We're talking a cost of maybe $50k/year.

Re:bullshit (2, Insightful)

damneinstien (939730) | more than 6 years ago | (#21277383)

Well, you must not have worked on a journal before. I am on the board for only an open access college journal and though we only publish ~10 articles per year, we still need a big staff doing all the tasks I mentioned and more And we have a fairly high budget. If my university's general funds and outside grants didn't cover our costs, our journal would disappear instantly. You seem to suggest that Nature (only an example because I happened to be reading something from there), which has over 50 journals to manage, 1000s of reviews to track, 1000s of articles to edit, 1000s of authors to communicate with, servers to host, "standard software packages" to customize and deploy, advertising to attract, subscriptions to manage and keep track of, among other things, costs can be accomplished through a "1/2 admin position" and a "cost of $50k/year!" And you were modded informative?

The argument that the legislation will force journals to go open access might have some merit; however, I don't foresee t. The costs needed to maintain these journals, however, will have to come out of somewhere.

Re:Much Needed (1)

phobos13013 (813040) | more than 6 years ago | (#21277281)

ugh, sorry guys, this is what i meant to say... I have been [slashdot.org] advocating this [slashdot.org] for some time... Creating a global hegemony on information is the purpose of academia, however. Which is why I will be somewhat surprised if it passes. The thing is, these days, its just not needed... people are so caught up in the importance of the degree and the academic experience, there will always been a need for the high-cost academic world. So why make the access to their information, just as high cost?! A reformation of the patent system would also go very nicely with freedom of information!

hmmm; (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#21275737)

Well, if they can do this with our gov. sponsered research (and they can), then why not require network neutrality for all networks that are based on monopolies? For example, comcast has the local monopoly for coax (and I believe fiber). The feds can require that they have network neutrality as a means of having the monopoly. If they give up the monopoly, then they should be free to do what they want.

Re:hmmm; (1)

benna (614220) | more than 6 years ago | (#21275835)

While I agree with you, I think the link between network neutrality and this article is tenuous at best.

Not quite (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#21276061)

this is about a comprimise. It basically says that if the publishers are using OUR research to feed from, then we want it back after a certain period. Basically, it says that if you are feeding at the public trough, then the public should get some back. What I was suggesting was the same. Yeah, slightly different subject, but in the end, same idea.

Re:hmmm; (1)

m2943 (1140797) | more than 6 years ago | (#21276091)

when why not require network neutrality

Because reasonable governments don't go around interfering in free markets willy-nilly. The argument for open access scientific journals apparently is compelling to Congress. The argument for network neutrality apparently is not compelling to Congress yet.

One can argue about whether Congress is right or wrong, but they get to make the call on this; that's what we elect them for.

Re:hmmm; (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#21276281)

Actually, the publishing is far more free-market than is telecom here. As I suggested earlier, gov should ONLY interfere if they were granted a monopoly. If they have no monopoly, then they should be free to do as they wish.

Yes! A step closer to the Age of Info (1, Troll)

bzipitidoo (647217) | more than 6 years ago | (#21275791)

Speaking as one who has had occasion to do research, there is a choice of ways to find research, but they're all mediocre at best. It's so easy for them all to be a lot better.

Libraries suck. To be fair, many of the reasons why they suck are beyond their control. They've still got the old card catalogs, which aren't too bad considering the obvious limitations. Nowadays they tend to have a few computers with various quirky proprietary search programs and data that are of course not available over the Internet like the library's catalog is likely to be. If you're lucky, you don't have to put your name on a waiting list for those very scarce machines. You won't have to let someone else on the machine just as you were getting the hang of it, because you're up against a time limit. You might even be able to save your search results in some other form than printouts that cost $0.25 a sheet. Often the library doesn't carry some journal. On one occasion when they did carry a journal I wanted an article from, their collection started 3 months later than the article I wanted. Another time I discovered the volume I wanted had been checked out, or so it seemed. When I asked, their records showed it hadn't been checked out, so I went back for another look and found that volume had been misplaced, one shelf over. Yet another time, they had the journal and volume, but someone else had got there first and ripped out the pages containing the article I wanted.

The other major way, the Internet, is not bad. The biggest problems are you won't find the old or the very newest, and quite a bit of stuff that should be there isn't thanks to publishers extorting copyright on material from their suppliers. Still, Citeseer manages. You can at least find out a paper exists and get an abstract even when you can't get the whole thing. Nothing quite so infuriating as paying $10 for some article that sounded promising but turns out to be crap. This legislation will make research via the Internet better.

And, this leaves one less example the likes of the MAFIAA can use for their propaganda.

Re:Yes! A step closer to the Age of Info (1)

raddan (519638) | more than 6 years ago | (#21276277)

What kind of library are you talking about? Your hometown public library? Virtually every college or university with a halfway respectable science program will have access to a huge number of scientific publications, either online or in print (and in many cases, both). Card catalogs? IIRC, my alma mater had them, but it was mostly because they either hadn't finished indexing their collection electronically, or because they hadn't bothered to throw them out yet. Real libraries, and especially real librarians, do NOT suck. They are essential.

Re:Yes! A step closer to the Age of Info (1)

peretzpup (530366) | more than 6 years ago | (#21276785)

Despite the comment you're replying to being largely an ignorant rant, bzipitidoo does have a point about those quirky proprietary search interfaces, they're an effect of the same problem this bill is trying to address. Real librarians are indeed essential and wonderful and it would be great to see what they could do with full access to full electronic texts of all scientific publications not artificially segmented and wrapped in layers of proprietary garbage.

"Well Heeled" Publishers Can Kiss My Taxpaying Ass (1)

cmholm (69081) | more than 6 years ago | (#21275809)

If a scientific journal wants a piece of my tax dollar, they should be thanking me that they get ANY taste of the proceeds. Beyond the cost of production (editing, reviewing, web serving, rainy day reserve, and limited printings), they have no business being "well heeled" on the public dollar.

Funding their other endeavors on the profits is great, but in that case they're gonna have to sell Congress on the width and breadth of what are in fact publicly financed activities. How nice are their offices? How much are the execs paid? How much are they pissing away on boondoggles? Do they sue citizens for redistributing material that their government paid to publish?

The margins for DoD contractors are limited by law, our shit gets audited constantly, and designs developed on the Federal dime belong to the Federal Government. Gotta play if you wanna get paid.

Re:"Well Heeled" Publishers Can Kiss My Taxpaying (1)

DarthBobo (152187) | more than 6 years ago | (#21276323)

Well heeled my ass. At least in the life sciences, those journals are non-profit organizations with slim margins. Yes, some of the biggest ones turn a profit, but the vast majority barely hang on, being supported by their parent organization.

Oh, and many of them don't have offices. Its just a collection of people who do the work mostly by email and snail mail, and then send the proofs to a publishing company to print and mail. They have about as much in common with DoD contractors as Saddam did with WMD.

Re:"Well Heeled" Publishers Can Kiss My Taxpaying (1)

OpieTaylor (144173) | more than 6 years ago | (#21276611)

I'm sure you meant to actually learn how academic publishing works before issuing strongly worded opinions... maybe you ran out of time, etc.

However, I might be able to help by correcting a few points: 1) journal publishing isn't lucrative, and 2) the Government does not pay the publishers--they're on their own to figure out how to cover their costs, usually through subscriptions.

Is access really that restricted now? (1)

Pedrito (94783) | more than 6 years ago | (#21275833)

Most university researchers probably don't have a problem. Most of the major journals I can get through the university library, even online access from home via the university library.

They don't get everything, but they get a pretty large chunk of what's out there. I've rarely had problems finding stuff I need.

I suspect most companies doing research can afford access to these as well. While not cheap, by any means, it's certainly within the reach of most moderate sized companies.

Re:Is access really that restricted now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21276121)

I find it hard to believe that the cost of publishing and access for researcher is as high as it is. Information is extremely cheap to archive and release publicly and reviewers shouldn't be that hard to find, just set up a system where scientists in the relevant fields review papers assigned randomly without any names attached to the work and voila! free reviewers. since the information is open, more people can check the work for its scientific merit. Is the system at current adequate? depends on who you ask. Labs on a tighter budget may not have the resources to shell out thousands to see research papers that may or may not contribute any useful data for a new research project. Currently, researchers have to jump through financial hoops to submit their work to more open journals, 2500 # each in the case of PLOS. Does that sound right to you?

Re:Is access really that restricted now? (2, Insightful)

Secrity (742221) | more than 6 years ago | (#21276259)

I am so happy for you that you and people like you in your ivory towers have access to ALL the major journals. Not all of us have that sort of access to those articles, even though our tax money paid for the research that allowed them to be written.

Re:Is access really that restricted now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21276733)

Hello myopic academics of the world:

Just because costs are not billed directly to your grant account does not mean access is reasonably priced.

Check out this article on the University of Georgia's costs:
http://onlineathens.com/stories/120206/news_20061202061.shtml [onlineathens.com]

"The library's budget for materials alone reaches about $9 million, about 70 percent or 80 percent of which pays for periodicals and other serials, said Dana Walker, head of the library's serials department.

Walker is able to keep magazines and newspapers like Newsweek, Psychology Today, the London Times and the Los Angeles Times - the kinds of titles that regional libraries struggle to keep - because those subscriptions are not as expensive as popular academic journals like Nature and the New England Journal of Medicine, she said."

A Sciencedirect subscription will run you in the range of $100k/yr for a medium size company. The costs of distribution have fallen, this needs to be reflected in the pricing.

Re:Is access really that restricted now? (1)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 6 years ago | (#21278409)

Researchers, amazingly, aren't the only people who might be able to make use of research. For example, I once posted the text from an article from the New England Journal of Medicine to a cancer mailing list I'm on because it contained important information that could help people make treatment decisions, but only those of us with access to the journal would be able to see it. Another possibility: I do educational research. Gee, it sure would be great if teachers could actually read it and use it improve their practice, since that's why we're doing it in the first place. But most public schools do not subscribe to academic journals.

Now, I definitely wonder how this will all shake out financially. But saying that there's no access problem just b/c the researchers themselves can get the journals doesn't make sense.

About time! (1)

McMurphy's_Law (1155161) | more than 6 years ago | (#21275837)

About freaking time. In today's day and age there is no excuse for access restrictions to federally funded research. I've found there's a small but active group of people who don't work in our field but nevertheless are intelligent and willing to take the time to learn about a specific area due to a real need; they or a family member has a disease and they want to learn everything they can about it. They'll never be 'experts' but that doesn't mean they can't make some sort of contribution (Lorenzo's oil). Besides which, who the hell are these journals to tell us that we have to pay them X amount of dollars to have the privilege of getting OUR work published in their journal and then effectively turning over all publication rights to them. Talk about a crock; it's one of the biggest cons in the business. With today's digital revolution we don't even need hard copies of these things eliminating the need for the asinine journal system.

It'll be interesting to see if the bill passes. Shit head has threatened to veto it and the dumbacrats have threatened to override (because there's a bunch of other crap in the bill they want passed). Apparently the only way to anything done in congress is to sneak a bunch of crap in a bill and hope there's enough garbage to appeal to enough morons that they'll do the 'right' thing and vote for it when what there actually doing is catering to what ever PAC is whispering in their ears. In spite of everything we seem to continually survive in spite of ourselves. Hopefully we'll continue to survive but do so via a method that makes more sense with better leadership in both parties.

trolls (1)

ncmathsadist (842396) | more than 6 years ago | (#21275899)

Hoo-goddamn-ray! Scientific journals charge huge page charges to author and gigantic subscription fees. This outmoded system is inefficient and the lag between discovery and publication is years. It is pointless and stupid! It's about tiime we didn't have to pay these expensive intermediaries (who pay zilch to editors and authors) for the privelege of overcharging us.

Yearly? (4, Insightful)

JoshJ (1009085) | more than 6 years ago | (#21276027)

What the hell is the point of making it require yearly renewal? If it's a good law, it should be permanent; if it's a bad law it shouldn't be passed at all. In this case, making it require yearly renewal means universities and such can't depend on the journals remaining open.

Re:Yearly? (1)

Bob(TM) (104510) | more than 6 years ago | (#21276837)

Just a bit of CYA maneuvering. Allows them to recover from an unintended consequence (alienating a campaign funding source, damaging journal paradigms in a way that undermines science, etc.) without having to go through the pain of introducing a bill to repeal an existing law (ie., sent to committee, debated and reworded, sent to the floor, ...).
 
If it ain't working right, it just disappears in a year without having to debate the point. If it is, then it's a slam-dunk for renewal.

Re:Yearly? (1)

bhalter80 (916317) | more than 6 years ago | (#21277835)

The point is that the law may require fine tuning once passed and by making it sunset after a year requires the topic to be revisited for a variety of reasons including implimentability, unintended side effects, etc... Personally I think that all laws should sunset 3 years after initially passed and again at 50 years so that if there is no interest in renewing them they find their way off the books which avoids stupid laws like one in MA requiring all adult males to carry weapons to church. While I have faith that that law would have been renewed after 3 years I doubt it would have been renewed at 50 years. In the US we have the problem that many bills are signed into law with great fanfare but due to any number of reasons they are never enforced properly yet are never repealed leading to an unnecessarily complicated criminal code.

I'm sure that my company will fight this (3, Interesting)

raddan (519638) | more than 6 years ago | (#21276181)

I work for a publishing company that shall remain unnamed, but has a rather large stake in scientific publishing. Several years ago, our company president commented, in reference to state legislation that was being pushed to control the cost of college textbooks, that "campaign contributions just don't have the effect they used to anymore" and that the state PIRGs were just a bunch of fearmongers. While it it true that the cost of textbooks has gone up, because our customers are demanding more and more elaborate kinds of books, it is also true that our profit margins have remained the same: very large. His comment simply disgusted me. You can't go from talking about how "sudoku books are pure profit" to bemoaning the fact that people don't want to pay $200 for their intro psych book. Obviously, I don't want to bite the hand that feeds me, nor do I think this is a bad company to work for (quite the contrary), however this kind of shortsightedness is exactly what is wrong with the world. I expect them to fight this legislation with equal vigor.

Re:I'm sure that my company will fight this (1)

OpieTaylor (144173) | more than 6 years ago | (#21276677)

The legislation doesn't affect textbook companies, like McGraw-Hill, Houghton Mifflin, Holt, Prentice Hall, and Harcourt. It's the academic journals--small outfits, highly specialized, low margins.

Re:I'm sure that my company will fight this (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 6 years ago | (#21277081)

The legislation doesn't affect textbook companies, like McGraw-Hill, Houghton Mifflin, Holt, Prentice Hall, and Harcourt. It's the academic journals--small outfits, highly specialized, low margins.

That used to be true. It isn't any more. Major journal publishers like Elsevier, Springer, and Taylor & Francis are also major textbook companies. It's part of the wave of consolidation over the last couple of decades in the publishing world as a whole, and these days there's a lot of money in journal publishing.

SPARC OA letter - chronology of US OA legislation (1)

MemexMutex (411069) | more than 6 years ago | (#21276455)

Peter Suber who maintains the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) Open Access newsletter and the Free Online Scholarship (FOS) newsletter has been following this story for years.

You can find a lot of contextual detail relevant to the discussion by starting with the 11/2/2007 copy of this newsletter.

http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/newsletter/11-02-07.htm [earlham.edu]

"Open access" means "author pays" (4, Insightful)

ahaile (147873) | more than 6 years ago | (#21276607)

I was on the board of a small scientific journal deciding whether to go open access. We decided not to for two main reasons. First, though, you need to realize that peer reviewed journals are expensive, especially the "nichey" ones like us. The peer reviewers themselves are volunteers, but precisely because they're volunteers, you need a lot of paid staff hours to make sure everybody's got what they need and is getting it turned over in a reasonable timeframe. Most small journals barely break even. So why didn't we go open access?

1) "Open access" sounds great, but you have to realize that "open access" means "author pays." Someone has to cover the journal expenses. Right now, it's largely the library budgets of research universities that fund journals, as they take out expensive institutional subscriptions. (Individual subscriptions generally lose money, by comparison.) Once a journal goes open access, the libraries drop their subscriptions and journal revenue plummets. To make up that money, journals have to raise the publication fees they charge authors dramatically. So "open access" just moves the barrier from access to publication. We have interests in attracting more international authors, and when we told these authors, particularly those from developing countries, what it would cost to publish in an open access journal, they said there was no way.

2) There's a perception that open access is cheap, because a lot of journals are only charging around $1000 or so to make a single article open access. But the fact is that those journals are radically underpricing open access. They can do that because right now, only a few of the articles in each issue are open access, so the research libraries aren't dropping their institutional subscriptions just yet. So at the moment, that $1k is just gravy for the journal. But if you actually price out what it costs to publish a journal article, it's 3-10 times what they're charging. So once the scientific publishing world really shifts to open access, those journals are either going to sink or have to boost drastically their open access fees.

misses the real problem (1)

superwiz (655733) | more than 6 years ago | (#21276629)

Even if there is open access to the articles, that will hardly change much. Few people skip on reading pertinent articles in the current setting. What is missing is access to data. Most "scientific" articles do not publish their experimental data. So there is no way to check their conclusions without trying to reproduce the experiments and then running the same analysis methods. If experimental data were required to be published, it would be possible to mine for information that original investigators missed. Since most of the cost is in conducting the experiments themselves, this would give taxpayers much, much, much more "bang for the buck".

Only part of the problem (1)

MemexMutex (411069) | more than 6 years ago | (#21277303)

Superwiz is most definitely correct to point out there is gold in them thar data.

However, it's not strictly true that either Open Access to journal articles "misses the real problem", nor is it true NIH and other organizations are not moving on this issue of Open Access to data.

1) The NIH has a Data Sharing and Access Policy which strives to get such data out there where all can reap the full benefits of mining it.

          http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/data_sharing/data_sharing_guidance.htm [nih.gov]

2) NIH is also committed to funding both repositories and application of algorithmic tools for mining such data (e.g., all of the resources hosted by NCBI such as the Entrez data sets and tools). For some of the more complex data types that are being generated, NIH is funding grants and contracts to help make this data more available.

3) The Science Commons (associated with the Creative Commons) has as one of its primary objectives to create and persistently host a richly expressed repository of public research data (primary data and derived data) specifically to catalyze discovery by the broader community.

          http://sciencecommons.org/ [sciencecommons.org]

This is just the tip of the iceberg. The recognition is there. Some significant technical obstacles still need to be addressed. But I do think the desire SuperWiz expresses here will gradually become a given over the next decade.

I would also add that prior to the 1990's, no research lab made much effort to get their data (raw & derived) out into the "commons". Most didn't think of it as valuable, and there is some truth to the thought that such a deluge would slow - as opposed to hasten scientific discovery.

I believe this view is changing, and we will see the expectation data needs to be published will be a given within a decade.

Model it after the NCJRS (1)

TheGoodSteven (1178459) | more than 6 years ago | (#21276753)

The National Criminal Justice Reference Service [ncjrs.gov] funds a large amount of criminology/criminal justice research, and as a requirement, the author(s) must submit the article to the NCJRS so that it can be put online for the public. These articles are still published in journals, which are purchased by universities and the such. Why wouldn't a similar system work in the health field? I would think that if anything the health industry would find this particularly useful; easily accessible research would mean more educated health professionals, while most applicable research is simply ignored in the Criminal Justice system.

Slashdot is... (2, Interesting)

gillbates (106458) | more than 6 years ago | (#21276769)

A peer reviewed journal for geeks. What we need is to take the same approach to the peer reviewed scientific journals. Currently, they leech off the authors, and turn around and charge exorbitant fees to the readers to boot!

Example: Just today, I needed some information on a relatively esoteric mathematical topic: maximal count linear feedback shift registers. I'm interested in relatively fast ways of finding dense polynomials, without doing the brute force try and see approach. However, most of the articles returned by Google were either to simple - they just discussed the general theory - or they were pay to view. Not only is the abstract uninformative, I have to pay in advance to read, which means that even if I should fork over the exorbitant fee, I might still end up with an article which reveals little more than Wikipedia. To folks like me, who do need this knowledge for professional work, even the peer-reviewed articles are worthless to me if I have to pay for them in advance, without a preview. I can't help but wonder how someone supposedly well-versed in math can't figure out the economics of publishing: that if they pay to have their article published, and the publisher charges readers a fee, that their article isn't likely to be read by anyone of consequence. Because I do professional work in this field, such an article would be of great interest to me; however, those who go the pay-to-publish route literally work themselves into obscurity.

Honestly, I don't understand why the prestigious research institutions don't offer their grant-funded research for free. Rather than publish in a little-read, expensive, journal, they could publish on the net and let advertising pay their editorial costs. Instead of hiring experts, articles could be rated by experts across the world, using digital signatures to verify the authenticity of not just the author, but the moderator as well. Readers could choose articles for reading based on their endorsements by recognized authorities in the field, rather than the selections of a few ivory-tower types.

Some might say that top research journals must be pay-to-publish in order to retain editors who are experts in their field. However, this argument doesn't really hold that much weight in light of the Alan Sokal Affair [nyu.edu] in which a peer-reviewed journal published rubbish that was easily recognizable as rubbish to even the most casual reader.

Interestingly, names like Schneier, Daemen, etc... are well known because their work is widely available, without a fee. I can't help but wonder if paying to publish in one of these peer-reviewed journals actually does anyone any good - because they are generally ignored by both industry and the public at large.

Great! but will happen anyway .. here's why (2, Insightful)

gyrocyclist (1122255) | more than 6 years ago | (#21276801)

Bottom line: journals that publish freely online will be quoted more often than those that don't. This works, because several highly respected journals currently publish online. So it's self-reinforcing. So I guess I don't care if congress passes a law or not -- I think it's inevitable. Closing thought: a year ago I was searching all available libraries to get a copy of paper X, which was published in the 60s -- way before the www or internet. Finally I found it online! Someone had scanned it. And I'm much happier now that I've got the original source, and can read/interpret it for myself, instead of relying on others to summarise this oft-quoted paper. What does this mean? Journals that publish freely -- of for minimal cost -- online, will flourish. Those that don't, won't. -regards, dh

Open = !free in publishing (1)

Assassin bug (835070) | more than 6 years ago | (#21277203)

Folks who do not publish in scientific, refereed journals may not realize this but authors pay a lot in Publication charges [entsoc.org]. There are some that are open and free for the author [insectscience.org] but they are few. I suspect if this bill passes page charges in many of our higher-end journals (e.g., Science, Nature, PNAS, Cell, Virology) are going to increase. Now if this happens researchers will need to allocate more money from there NIH grants to cover higher page charges. And where does the funding for NIH come from? Federal taxes. Just something to think about in time when funding for science research has been scaled back and you puzzle as to why some scientist might not be so keen on the idea.

Great (4, Interesting)

arrrrg (902404) | more than 6 years ago | (#21277231)

Maybe this will cause more journals to go the way of Machine Learning, which IMO would be awesome.

From wiki [wikipedia.org]: The [Journal of Machine Learning Research] was founded as an open-access alternative to the journal Machine Learning. In 2001, forty editors of Machine Learning resigned in order to support JMLR, saying that in the era of the internet, it was detrimental for researchers to continue publishing their papers in expensive journals with pay-access archives. Instead, they wrote, they supported the model of JMLR, in which authors retained copyright over their papers and archives were freely available on the internet.

Re:Great (1)

Plutonite (999141) | more than 6 years ago | (#21277875)

I wish the IEEE in particular would go this path, instead of charging poor grad students (who are the main audience) silly amounts for material they clearly won't buy. My CS department told me it cost $275,000 for access to I think 3 sections on the IEEE website. So much for the age of enlightenment.

Brighter side: most authors have the right to publish anything pre-final (which is usually just the same sans format particulars) on their own respective websites, for free. So once more, Google is your friend.

Researchers powerless (2, Informative)

line-bundle (235965) | more than 6 years ago | (#21277543)

Researchers, particularly young ones, do not have much of an option in deciding where to publish. Their tenure, funding, life depends on them publishing in a prestigious journal.

It's not really their choice. The people who can make tenure decisions are deans, but deans tend beancounters who only look at the historical prestige of a journal.

been there, done that.

Tell me where this chain of logic is broken. (1)

ZombieRoboNinja (905329) | more than 6 years ago | (#21277741)

I see this as a potentially very bad thing, but I might be mistaken. Tell me where I'm wrong here.

1. NIH requires articles be published in journals that are free after a year.
2. Since NIH funds a TON of stuff, basically ALL journals must go free after a year.
3. Very small institutions and groups drop their subscriptions to journals because hey, they get the articles free now.
4. Those journals have to raise subscription prices to make up for the lost customers (because despite the summary's tone, I get the feeling they're not all swimming in profits right now).
5. Medium-sized groups and institutions have to be more selective in which journals when they subscribe to (since they have limited funds for subscriptions).
6. Lesser-known journals lose circulation, and therefore prestige, and therefore can't find those great "free" peer reviewers and go out of business.

END RESULT: There are fewer peer-reviewed journals out there, which means fewer peer-reviewed scientific publications. But hey, the ones that are left are open to everyone!

Why doesn't the NIH just self-publish? (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 6 years ago | (#21277789)

They're certainly a big enough institution to just put out a quarterly or monthly "proceedings of the NIH".

-jcr

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