[Taxacom] Paywall our taxonomic tidbit

Geoffrey Read gread at actrix.gen.nz
Thu Jan 14 23:52:37 CST 2016

I admire your persistence Stephen!

Let's say I'm a 30 year old long-distance truck driver.  It's okay, but as
a child I collected beetles and I still dream of becoming a biologist.
Maybe it won't happen but I'm planning to go to university when I've saved
up. Meantime I'm fascinated by the articles on beetles at Zootaxa, and
need them to identify what I see in my garden. I contribute to Naturewatch
too on my days off. Damn, so many of the articles are paywalled! It's
really frustrating.

Well Stephen, I reckon truck drivers too should be able to read Zootaxa
articles gratis and without begging for them if it's easy enough for us to
make it so.  And I believe in not restricting what people can do or read
because it's not directly relevant to their current job or place in


On Fri, January 15, 2016 6:10 pm, Stephen Thorpe wrote:
> 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.
> Stephen
> --------------------------------------------
> 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
>  Stephen,
>  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
>  recently.
>  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.
>  Geoff
>  -----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 ...
>  Stephen
>  --------------------------------------------
>  On Fri, 15/1/16, Elena Kupriyanova <Elena.Kupriyanova at austmus.gov.au>
>  wrote:
>   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
>  of
>   paying for it out our own pockets? I honestly cannot see
>  any
>   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
>   Researchgate...
>   Best,
>   Lena
>   Dr. Elena Kupriyanova
>   Senior Research Scientist
>   Marine Invertebrates
>  _______________________________________________
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> http://taxacom.markmail.org
>  Celebrating 29 years of Taxacom in 2016.

Geoffrey B. Read, Ph.D.
8 Zaida Way, Maupuia
Wellington, NEW ZEALAND
gread at actrix.gen.nz

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