[Taxacom] Open access?

Donat Agosti agosti at amnh.org
Wed Jun 5 07:44:40 CDT 2013


We are not in the age of reading-a-paper-at-a-time anymore. Neither are we in an age of I-write-a-paper-for-my-community that is my fellow specialists. Thanks to the Internet and access content can be read by a much wider audience, becomes a source for many other purposes than initially thought

You need to compare what happens at PubMed (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK3827/#pubmedhelp.PubMed_Quick_Start) where there are 22 Mio abstracts allowing extensive datamining, extraction already. It is clear, as powerful this is, this is not as good as full text that this in PubMed Central (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/) . Especially our literature, where almost all the relevant stuff is in treatments that are not part of the abstract, the latter is the way to go.

It is not enough to read your Flora one by one and extract the distribution records for Tanzania to extract each of location data for each taxon. If they are open access, the machine will do the work which will take you month to do. And this is especially powerful, if we not just publish open access but make use of instruments like Taxpub that allows, within a modern publishing workflow based on XML and import to PubMed Central, that make this fly? It is here (see eg Zookeys, Phytokeys, Mycokeys, Journal of Hymenoptera Research)
There are tools for older and traditionally published modern literature as well, but we really have to ask us, for what do I publish and what do I want to get out of this superb corpus of literature we have and keep publishing. And again, it is not to read one description after the other, not even to get a list of species for a particular country, but a list of the specimens, all their data, DNA sequences, images, sound bites that have been used to create the treatments in the first hand.

Paywall, especially individuals are not the way to go. The way to go is to urge our governments, the EU, to produce legal language that requests open access. What the American President can do (http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/02/22/expanding-public-access-results-federally-funded-research) , we can do as well. It is not least you scientist, mostly paid by public funds, that not only wants to have the best possible platform for dissemination of your results and to be as widely cited, but as a taxpayer, I want to have access for what I pay for with billions all different kind of currencies. 
Why should we accept the Internet but at the same time not adjust the way we communicate? Why don't we urge our governments and organizations to add a  piece of infrastructure call digital collections parallel to the libraries, specimen collections, special collections? 

Donat

 

-----Original Message-----
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Roderic Page
Sent: Wednesday, June 05, 2013 4:44 PM
To: Quentin Groom
Cc: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Open access?

Open Access is not simply about not having to pay to read. It's about "free" in the sense of being able to repurpose the text, for example, mining the text. 

It's one thing to say "OK, I can rent access to a paper for a short period and read it" (an option for some papers in BioNames, e.g. http://bionames.org/references/e5249df9741347eccfba182c64936ab2 ), it's quite another to be able to download that text and extract its content. I would argue mining is ultimately far more valuable, and is one of the more compelling arguments for Open Access. It's also something that publishers are reluctant to allow, see piece in Nature yesterday "Tensions grow as data-mining discussions fall apart" http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/498014a.

There's a lot more at stake here than an individual's ability to read a paper.

Regards

Rod

On 5 Jun 2013, at 12:39, Quentin Groom wrote:

> As a consumer of scientific papers I've never had a problem with the 
> principal of paying to read. I do this all the time with books. 
> However, I resent having to pay as much as $40 for 24 hours viewing of 
> a paper published 80 years ago. With publishers such as PeerJ pushing 
> the boundaries of what publishing costs. The other publishers need to 
> step-up and cut their costs. The costs of scanning are so low that 
> they could still make profit on their back catalogues if they cut the 
> cost to cents. People cheat the system now because they feel that it is unfair.
> However, someone does need to pay!
> I would also like to see the paid download statistics published. 
> Wouldn't the impact of a publication be much butter judged by the 
> willingness of people to pay for it, rather than if it gets cited.
> Quentin
> 
> Donat Agosti wrote:
>> Right, but this is also not a business model, or one whereby nobody pays.
>> Donat
>> 
>> 
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Philipp Wagner [mailto:philipp.wagner.zfmk at uni-bonn.de]
>> Sent: Wednesday, June 05, 2013 2:49 PM
>> To: Donat Agosti
>> Cc: 'Wuster,Wolfgang'; 'John Noyes'; taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
>> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Open access?
>> 
>> Well, also people from poorer countries have an email account and can easily request tha artcile directly from the authors.
>> That would be the cheapest way for both sides.
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> Donat Agosti schrieb:
>> 
>>> ". I would be concerned that making open access mandatory would discriminate against taxonomists from poorer countries"
>>> 
>>> Essentially this means: Better keep the old system, where the people from poorer countries have very restricted access to the published record, because their libraries cannot afford it, and because there is not even in the richer countries a library that has it all. Do you really mean and support this?
>>> Essentially, that means to keep the colleagues in the poorer country longer in the dark as necessary.
>>> 
>>> Donat
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu 
>>> [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of 
>>> Wuster,Wolfgang
>>> Sent: Wednesday, June 05, 2013 2:25 PM
>>> To: John Noyes; taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
>>> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Open access?
>>> 
>>> Having all taxonomic publication available as open access publications would be nice, but at least at the moment, someone, somewhere still ends up paying, at least if they wish to publish through independent academic journals. In the traditional system readers pay, under the open access model the author pays. I would be concerned that making open access mandatory would discriminate against taxonomists from poorer countries as well as many private individuals (and indeed retired academics) who pay for their taxonomic research out of their own pockets. No doubt this may change in the next few years with the advent of new publishing models, but I don't think we are quite there yet.
>>> 
>>> However, encouraging open access for those who can afford it would certainly make a nice Recommendation  8i in the Code.
>>> 
>>> Wolfgang
>>> 
>>> John Noyes wrote:
>>> 
>>> 
>>>> Hi,
>>>> 
>>>> I certainly think it would be good to specify that an electronic publication would meet the requirements of the ICZN as a published article ONLY if it was open access. It is a pity that this was not done when Article 8.5 was introduced - it is almost certainly too late now. As I see it, it was a fantastic opportunity was missed that would have made taxonomy hugely more accessible at a stroke. It would also have made it cheaper because the cost of publishing taxonomy (especially large-scale revisionary works of the sort that are badly needed) could have been reduced to virtually nill.
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
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---------------------------------------------------------
Roderic Page
Professor of Taxonomy
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