[Taxacom] Paywall our taxonomic tidbit

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Thu Jan 14 23:10:29 CST 2016

But Geoff, you are a taxonomist and therefore not a member of the public (in the relevant sense). The public should not have to pay so that you just might find something interesting in articles that aren't directly relevant to your work (or at least they should be given the informed choice of whether or not to pay). Don't think about it just from your perspective. Think instead of how much demand their really is for many taxonomic papers, stacked against the cost of making all of them freely available to everybody. There is a difference between "hiding information away" versus using public money to make it available to everyone, when only a handful of specialists are remotely interested in reading it.


On Fri, 15/1/16, Geoff Read <gread at actrix.gen.nz> wrote:

 Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Paywall our taxonomic tidbit
 To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
 Received: Friday, 15 January, 2016, 5:17 PM
 You say " absolutely no point in paying publishers up front
 to make the
 publications available freely to everybody in the world"
 The idea that we should restrict access, hide away
 information from the
 public, and make it difficult to read our works is abhorrent
 to me.
 Fortunately we've come a long way in my lifetime towards
 open exchange and
 discussion - the internet as the shining example, and
 special mention to
 the access via BHL which has revolutionized our work as
 taxonomists more
 Every paper published in Zootaxa today was paywalled. I
 don't have a
 subscription, so I don't have the access to Zootaxa that I
 know you do,
 but I'm interested in dipping into a wide range of taxonomy
 when I see
 something on the spot that just might be worth reading but
 is outside my
 narrow specialty. It helps me with my own work and it's good
 to see other
 ways of doing things, interpretations of the code, and the
 new techniques
 used. To do that today I need to write ten begging letters,
 and wait. Or
 pay 140 dollars ($14 per paper).  So I'll look at none
 of them.
 Yesterday was short paper day at Zootaxa - every one of
 those six was
 paywalled (including one from a colleague at Elena's
 institute), but could
 have so easily have been open access and read much more
 widely for just
 lunch money for most of the authors, or around a taxi fare
 if their
 employer pays. Hence my amazement that people would not do
 that when they
 had the chance.
 -----Original Message-----
 From: Taxacom [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu]
 On Behalf Of
 Stephen Thorpe
 Sent: Friday, 15 January 2016 2:46 p.m.
 To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu;
 Elena Kupriyanova
 <Elena.Kupriyanova at austmus.gov.au>
 Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Paywall our taxonomic tidbit
 Dear Elena,
 I like your post because I am trying to get people to think
 this matter
 through, and your post shows that you are starting to do
 just that. There
 appears to be a significant group who are lobbying for open
 access, even
 though, as you correctly point out, it is usually not very
 hard to get
 hold of publications for free, even when they are not open
 access. What
 matters is that the people who need to read the publications
 can read
 them. There is absolutely no point in paying publishers up
 front to make
 the punlications available freely to everybody in the world,
 given that
 only a few people will ever need to read most of them!
 Somthing very dodgy
 is going on here - those who stand to gain financially from
 open access
 are lobbying hard in favour of it! No surprises there,
 really ...
 On Fri, 15/1/16, Elena Kupriyanova <Elena.Kupriyanova at austmus.gov.au>
  Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Paywall our taxonomic tidbit
  To: "taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu"
 <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
  Received: Friday, 15 January, 2016, 1:07 PM
  Dear colleagues,
  I am really confused by now re what the point of this
  discussion is. Should we make our taxonomic papers open
  access or should we use our grant money to do so instead
  paying for it out our own pockets? I honestly cannot see
  paywall - whenever I need a paper, I just write to the
  author and ask for a pdf. I am happy to send my own papers
  to anybody who cares to read them (gosh, where is a chance
  they might even cite me ;) Besides, there is
  Dr. Elena Kupriyanova
  Senior Research Scientist
  Marine Invertebrates
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