[Taxacom] IPBES: a new challenge (not for cynics)

Dean Pentcheff pentcheff at gmail.com
Thu Jan 13 13:12:24 CST 2011


Following is a discouraging example of why we must rethink and
redesign the scientific publishing ecosystem. We feel it is important
to have access to the text of taxon descriptions, but publishers'
copyrights prevent us from opening up that access. The appended
article describes how those same publishers treat people trying to
save lives: by denying them free access to the literature.

This is a sad state of affairs.

-Dean
--
Dean Pentcheff
pentcheff at gmail.com
dpentche at nhm.org
======
BMJ 2011; 342:d196 doi: 10.1136/bmj.d196 (Published 11 January 2011)
Cite this as: BMJ 2011; 342:d196
News
Publishers withdraw 2500 journals from free access scheme in Bangladesh
Zosia Kmietowicz

  Five publishers have withdrawn free access to more than 2500 health
and biomedical online journals from institutions in Bangladesh. One
research leader has described the situation as “very discouraging.”
  From 4 January Elsevier Journals withdrew access in Bangladesh to
1610 of its publications, including the Lancet stable of journals,
which had been available through the World Health Organization’s
Health Inter-Network for Access to Research Initiative (HINARI)
programme. HINARI was set up in 2002 to enable not for profit
institutions in developing countries to gain access online to more
than 7000 biomedical and health titles either free or at very low
cost.
  Springer has withdrawn 588 of its journals from the programme in
Bangladesh and Lippincott Williams and Wilkins 299 journals. The
American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American
Society for Animal Science have withdrawn access to, respectively, two
and three of their journals.
  Altogether 150 publishers take part in HINARI.
  Tracey Koehlmoos, head of the health and family planning systems
programme at the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research
in Dhaka, said, “We are a little less than 300 scientists eking out
world class research on a shoestring budget without the purchasing
power capacity of a big university in the West. HINARI has been our
lifeline. My colleagues publish in many of these journals, and now we
won’t even have access to our own papers.”
  Dr Koehlmoos described the situation as very discouraging and said
that it was likely to make working in a challenging environment even
more difficult. She added, “I lead a small WHO funded centre for
systematic review. Can you imagine the difficulties of trying to
conduct or support systematic reviews without access to the major
journals in global public health?
  “Already my junior scientists who are writing proposals have started
to ask how they can access articles. I envision a period where we have
to work from abstracts or ask our partners in big universities in
developed countries to send us full text articles, which is
humiliating. If you look at Wiley & Sons, they have enabled all low
income countries to have access to the Cochrane Library for no cost.
This move by other publishers is really going against the grain.”
  Kimberly Parker, programme manager at HINARI, said that the decision
to withdraw free access was not unusual practice once publishers start
to secure “active sales” in a country.
  “Access is still available through those institutions which purchase
the journals,” she said.
======


On Tue, Jan 11, 2011 at 4:50 AM, Donat Agosti <agosti at amnh.org> wrote:
>
> This seems to me a too easy an answer. If we do not control where and how we
> publish then we better don't since our knowledge and data is out of our
> control. Also from the point of view I can not accept that I pay your
> research and then have to pay again for publication to a publisher over
> which I have no control.
>
> The lesson for the future then has to be to change the system so we control
> it. There are good starting points such as zookeys at Pensoft which is full
> oa, or others like Zootaxa that offer at least the option (that
> unfortunately far too few of us chose). Another lesson from our community is
> to make it mandatory to publish Open access. And if would be to my taste
> make the publications machine readable and all the underlying data has to be
> linked. We should really invest in our future to avoid the pitfalls your
> refer to. But this is an old issue..
>
> Donat
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Francisco
> Welter-Schultes
> Sent: Tuesday, January 11, 2011 2:33 PM
> To: TAXACOM at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] IPBES: a new challenge (not for cynics)
>
> > We still publish works that are
> > difficult to get, almost impossible to mine and with little access
> > to the underlying data.
>
> A big part of the problem is outside our direct responsibility:
> international copyright laws and conventions restrict access to a
> large part of the scientific information published between 1920 and
> 2000. It would be necessary to teach international politics that
> there is no sense in applying the same copyright laws for scientific
> and non-scientific publications, and to open an discussion in
> international bodies to change the conventions.
>
> Francisco
> University of Goettingen, Germany
> www.animalbase.org
>
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