[Taxacom] Paywall our taxonomic tidbit

Roderic Page Roderic.Page at glasgow.ac.uk
Fri Jan 15 06:25:05 CST 2016

Hi Scott,

If you can get the papers you want through your connections (in other words a peer-to-peer network https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_peer-to-peer_processes ) then that works for you.

I would argue that reliance on such network, while meeting local needs ("I can find my papers, what’s the problem?”), doesn’t work at a global level. I work with hundreds of thousands of papers and millions of names, and anything which makes papers discoverable and accessible is vital. The approach you describe is simply untenable at this scale.

If all you have is peer-to-peer networks then taxonomy will remain discipline of small clusters. Maybe that’s all taxonomists want.

But other disciplines, such as biomedicine and genomics realised pretty early on that they needed to centralise this, hence we have PubMed and now its open access cousin PubMed Central. People doing all sorts of studies access these, download content and do extraordinary things with them. I, for one, would like taxonomy to be able to do the same. Open access is a big part of that vision.



Roderic Page
Professor of Taxonomy
Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
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On 15 Jan 2016, at 11:08, Scott Thomson <scott.thomson321 at gmail.com<mailto:scott.thomson321 at gmail.com>> wrote:

I get the point on the open access argument but think that in general whether behind a paywall or not most papers are relatively easy to get. for paywalled papers people have numerous options, writing to the author obviously is one and that is not difficult, continuing with the Zootaxa example in their online preview of papers the corresponding authors contact details are included. For myself I always try to immediately respond to these. Second is ResearchGate where many authors upload their papers irrespective of the paywall issue, if they dont but include the reference the clicking of Request full text, button is there. Many libraries also do still carry access to papers and the more specialised ones such as our field can often be obtained through any University library. Lastly of course are list serves like this where i can write a post saying does anyone have .... and it will be emailed to me by someone, we tend to share.

For people not in science who want to be, eg the truckie example mentioned earlier, well part of wanting to be in any field is learning how to get the information you want. They only have to learn how to access the information. If the desire is there it does not take long to learn these basics.

In all honesty the only papers I have found very difficult to get are obscure journals with limited runs, generally older articles.

As to the concern of public funding being used for publishing, I agree that in any grant I have seen or been a part of the publishing of the findings is an accepted and expected cost within the grant. Considering how much these grants are often for, the few hundred in publishing is negligible, it is also of benefit to the granting agency as it is a demonstration and justification of the spending. Hence in most of my grants copies of all publications were submitted to the agency in the final reports.

cheers Scott

Scott Thomson
Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de São Paulo
Divisão de Vertebrados (Herpetologia)
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