[Taxacom] Paywall our taxonomic tidbit

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Thu Jan 14 20:42:41 CST 2016

You can't assume that the number of views would be so high if it wasn't open access. You can't assume that the number of views is the same as the number of readers. If a paper is open access, then you can easily click on it, even just by accident, or for a quick peek for no particular reason. Also, if it is open access, then there is no need for you to download and store the file on your computer. You can click on it again every time you want to read it (or check any detail). Hence one reader might easily be responsible for 10 or more views. Besides, the papers may be "rather obscure", but the journal isn't. So, the journal attracts a lot of visits relative to a more obscure (specialised) journal. Do you really think that an article in, say for example, the New Zealand Entomologist would get anywhere near even 2000 views?


On Fri, 15/1/16, Peter Uetz <peter at uetz.us> wrote:

 Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Paywall our taxonomic tidbit
 To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
 Received: Friday, 15 January, 2016, 3:05 PM
 Where do you get your “n” (reader number) from?
 Here are some randomly chosen and rather obscure papers from
 Plos One ($1,495 a piece open access fee) published during
 the past 5 years:
    Cryptic Speciation Patterns in Iranian
 Rock Lizards Uncovered by Integrative Taxonomy
    Views: 8299 • Citations: 14 • Saves:
    New Metrics for Comparison of Taxonomies
 Reveal Striking Discrepancies among Species Delimitation
 Methods in Madascincus Lizards
    Views: 4076 • Citations: 35 • Saves:
    Evolution of Body Elongation in
 Gymnophthalmid Lizards: Relationships with Climate
    Views: 2487 • Citations: 6 • Saves:
    Multi-Locus Estimates of Population
 Structure and Migration in a Fence Lizard Hybrid Zone
    Views: 3244 • Citations: 4 • Saves:
    Estimating Ancestral Ranges: Testing
 Methods with a Clade of Neotropical Lizards (Iguania:
    Views: 2819 • Citations: 1 • Saves:
 If each reader paid only $10 that would be $28,000 for the
 least-viewed paper and still $360 for the least-saved paper
 ($140 OA fee at Zootaxa).
 And these are only papers from the past 5 years.
 > Message: 22
 > Date: Fri, 15 Jan 2016 00:22:36 +0000 (UTC)
 > From: Stephen Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>
 > To: <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>,
 "Michael A. Ivie"
 >     <mivie at montana.edu>
 > Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Paywall our taxonomic tidbit
 > Message-ID:
 >     <1685864983.5827201.1452817356086.JavaMail.yahoo at mail.yahoo.com>
 > Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
 > Mike,
 > […] 
 > Suppose that n people want to read a given publication.
 Suppose that they each must pay $100 (from public money) to
 the publisher in order to read it. It is quite possible that
 100n is significantly less than $20/page for open access,
 given that no more than n people want to read it. Multiply
 all that by the vast number of limited interest taxonomic
 articles that get published every year, and the difference
 in cost gets even greater.
 > […]
 > Stephen
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