[Taxacom] Paywall our taxonomic tidbit

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Sun Jan 17 13:19:26 CST 2016


Lynn,

I don't think that I am the one confusing different issues at all.

>When the research is paid for by ‘the public” then there should be an obligation for this to be made freely available to “the public” whether they are interested or not<

That is a moot point, which does sound analogous to helping the proverbial old lady across the road who doesn't want to cross the road! But let's accept it for the sake of argument. The crucial point is that open access makes nothing "freely available"! Let's try to grasp an analogy. I always travel by public transport (bus and train), so I buy monthly passes at the start of each month. Then I have unlimited travel for that month. But it is not "free" travel! I have just paid for it in advance, that's all. Same with open access, except it is worse because most of the public have no interest in reading most of what they would have paid for in advance under open access!

The second crucial point is that public money for open access fees will either result in the public paying more towards research (with nothing they particularly want in return), or, most likely, it will result in less research being done for the same amount of funding (because a proportion of it is spent on open access fees). Either way, the public doesn't benefit!

Stephen

--------------------------------------------
On Mon, 18/1/16, Lynn Raw <lynn at afriherp.org> wrote:

 Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Paywall our taxonomic tidbit
 To: "Stephen Thorpe" <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>
 Cc: "taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu" <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
 Received: Monday, 18 January, 2016, 3:07 AM
 
 Are you
 confusing different issues? When the research is paid for by
 ‘the public” then there should be an obligation for this
 to be made freely available to “the public” whether they
 are interested or not. Admittedly, perhaps this should
 be limited to the residents/taxpayers of the countries
 concerned (i.e., EU member states for EU-funded research).
 As pointed out previously, some countries already publish
 the reports resulting from government-funded research on
 their own websites (e.g. randd.defra.gov.uk). As a
 proportion of the average person’s annual tax bill the
 amount spent on funding taxonomy compared to the overall
 research budget is likely to be sufficiently minuscule to be
 virtually undetectable. In the case of corporation-funded
 research (unlikely to involve taxonomy) then this is likely
 to be either unpublished and closely guarded for competitive
 advantage or published for general information and used to
 obtain publicity. In this case the open-access model would
 be the appropriate advertising choice. Funding by charities
 is also likely to follow the publicity route with the
 open-access model. This leaves researcher-funded research
 where the open-access model is probably desirable but more
 likely to be unaffordable. This type of research is also
 more likely to concern the many non-affiliated taxonomists
 who also need the availability of open-access publications
 to conduct their research. Maybe it is time to focus on
 solutions to this particular problem rather than debate the
 bigger picture.
 
 
 On 17 Jan
 2016, at 05:06, Stephen Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>
 wrote:
 Yes Elena, clearly something is going
 on here under the surface "philanthropy". Note
 that either way, the public has to pay to read taxonomic
 literature, just either (1) they choose what they want to
 read and pay for it (standard model); or (2) they pay in
 advance for every single thing that they might want to read
 (open access). Hmmm...
 
 Stephen
 
 
 --------------------------------------------
 On Sun, 17/1/16, Elena Kupriyanova
 <Elena.Kupriyanova at austmus.gov.au>
 wrote:
 
 
 Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Paywall our taxonomic tidbit
  To: "'gread at actrix.gen.nz'"
 <gread at actrix.gen.nz>
  Cc: "taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu"
 <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
  Received: Sunday, 17 January, 2016,
 5:35 PM
 
 
 Dear Geoff and et al.,
 
  I have a strange feeling that 
 as a hypothetical 30
  year old
 long-distance truck driver fascinated by beetles
  you would be looking for a
 well-illustrated BOOK (not a
 
 Zootaxa article) on beetles of New Zealand. It is
 unlikely
  that you would be
 complaining when you learn that you either
  would need to buy such a book or to
 drive (walk) to a
  library to
 borrow it. Would this be a case of restricting
  what people can  read because
 it's not directly
  relevant to
 their current job or place in society? We all
  buy books, don't we? Why is it ok
 for us to buy or borrow
  book, but
 at the same time we are convinced that scientific
  journals should be available to us
 instantly at a mouse
  click? I am
 confused now...
  Lena
 
  Dr. Elena
 Kupriyanova
  Senior Research
 Scientist
  Marine Invertebrates
 
  Associate
 Editor, 
  Records of the Australian
 Museum
 
 
 Australian Museum Research Institute 
  1 William Street Sydney NSW 2010
 Australia 
  t 61 2 9320
 6340   m 61402735679   f 61 2 9320
 6059
  Visit: http://www.australianmuseum.net.au
  Like: http://www.facebook.com/australianmuseum
  Follow: http://www.twitter.com/austmus
  Watch: http://www.youtube.com/austmus 
  Inspiring the exploration of nature
 and cultures
 
 
 
  -----Original Message-----
  From: Taxacom [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu]
  On Behalf Of Geoffrey Read
  Sent: Friday, 15 January 2016 4:53
 PM
  To: Stephen Thorpe
  Cc: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
  Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Paywall our
 taxonomic tidbit
 
  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
 
 society.
 
 
 Geoff
 
 
  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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