[Taxacom] Paywall our taxonomic tidbit

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Fri Jan 15 13:56:20 CST 2016

I wonder how many 30 year old truck drivers would be happy for their taxes to be used (without consultation) to pay for open access to articles on polychaete taxonomy, just on the off chance that anyone among them might develop an interest in the topic?

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

 Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Paywall our taxonomic tidbit
 To: "Stephen Thorpe" <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>
 Cc: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
 Received: Friday, 15 January, 2016, 6:52 PM
 I admire your persistence
 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.
 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!
 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
 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
 > (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
 > 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>
 >  Subject:
 Re: [Taxacom] Paywall our taxonomic tidbit
 >  To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
 >  Received: Friday, 15 January, 2016, 5:17
 >  Stephen,
 >  You say "
 absolutely no point in paying publishers up front
 >  to make the
 publications available freely to everybody in the
 >  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
 >  discussion - the internet as the
 shining example, and
 >  special mention
 >  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
 >  know you do,
 but I'm interested in dipping into a wide range of
 >  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
 >  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
 >  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
 >  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
 >  Taxacom Mailing List
 >  Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.eduhttp://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/taxacom
 >  The Taxacom Archive back to 1992 may be
 searched at:
 > 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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