[Taxacom] Paywall our taxonomic tidbit

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Sun Jan 17 13:33:59 CST 2016

>It is Stephen who thinks Zootaxa readers need only be an elite in-group<

Absolute bollocks Geoff! I despise "elite in-groups", which is in part why I OBJECT to open acess (i.e. only an elite in-group of funded authors can afford to publish).

Geoff claims that [quote]a minute further amount would pay for the open access which is to the advantage of all, including the author[unquote].

I am just not at all sure that the amount is really "minute". Maybe the situation in the USA is different, but, as Geoff ought to know, the amount of public research funding for taxonomy in N.Z. pays for rather little output as things are. If authors have to start paying $20/page open access fees (probably higher for high impact overseas journals which NZ academics will be under pressure to publish in), then I really don't see this as a "minute further amount". Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. The important point is that it all needs to be calculated and made clear before embarking on what could easily end up being an enormous waste of public money and a significant windfall for a few publishers.

The very last thing that we want under open access is a publication like the one below (see link below, particularly my comment at the very end of the web page). As it happens, I don't think the article is open access (not on the publisher's website, anyway, though the full article has been made freely available on ResearchGate, so I'm not sure how that is possible?), but it could have been. 



On Mon, 18/1/16, Geoffrey Read <gread at actrix.gen.nz> wrote:

 Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Paywall our taxonomic tidbit
 To: "Elena Kupriyanova" <Elena.Kupriyanova at austmus.gov.au>
 Cc: "taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu" <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
 Received: Monday, 18 January, 2016, 1:06 AM
 Dear Lena,
 I forgot to mention that my
 truck driver was Australian, and one day had
 been given a old secondhand copy of a big
 textbook called "The Insects of
 Australia" by his hypothetical aunt when
 he was 15. This was what he had
 learnt basic
 entomology from, and reading it cover to cover
 chapt 30)  had enabled him to
 advance to appreciate the up-to-date
 Coleoptera research of the rare articles in
 Zootaxa that were  open
 It is Stephen who thinks
 Zootaxa readers need only be an elite in-group.
 No one else here likes that idea. The general
 point is that there is a
 group of Zootaxa
 readers and other journal readers (such as Stephen, and
 myself also) who, through circumstance, have
 free access to a lot of
 digitised online
 research information, whereas the public, including less
 advantaged scientists, does not, although they
 have paid the same tiny
 amount as Stephen
 and I have for the information to be produced through
 our taxes and could make use of the
 information.  A minute further amount
 pay for the open access which is to the advantage of all,
 the author. It is because the
 amount needed is relatively so tiny, and
 distribution so easy, that open access digital
 can exist.
 In contrast
 public taxes rarely pay for physical books to be produced
 because of the much greater cost - these are
 mostly private enterprise
 producing large physical objects (over 10 Kg for a recent
 fish monograph) with associated material
 costs, also intended to profit
 the author
 and publisher, or at least cover costs.  A finite number
 can be
 printed, they have to be warehoused
 somewhere and transported at some
 and to receive them gratis you have to be very lucky, or
 circumstances must exist (a
 benevolent funder or an ulterior motive, such
 as the giving away of religious works).
 Now it's possible to
 dispense with the hardcopy book, or to have both
 print book and cheaper digital ebook. 
 Book-sized science reports of
 Government and
 non-profit organisations are usually distributed
 for free now, whereas a few years
 ago it would have been on a
 basis for the hardcopy version. ZooKeys is currently
 hardcopy of a special collection
 that as individual articles are free.
 with conference proceedings nowadays - hardcopy needs to be
 paid for,
 individual digital articles can
 easily be made 'free' for all (some one is
 paying, but not very much).
 On Sun,
 January 17, 2016 5:35 pm, Elena Kupriyanova wrote:
 > Dear Geoff and et al.,
 > I have a strange
 feeling that  as a hypothetical 30 year old
 > 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 
 > 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
 > should be available to us
 instantly at a mouse click? I am confused
 > now...
 > Lena
 > Dr. Elena
 > Senior Research
 > 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
 > -----Original
 > 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,
 > 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
 > Well
 Stephen, I reckon truck drivers too should be able to read
 > 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
 >> 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>
 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
 >> 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
 >> 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).à 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
 >> 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
 >>  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>
 >>  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
 >>   Marine
 >>  Taxacom Mailing List
 >>  Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
 >> http://scanmail.trustwave.com/?c=4062&d=5OyZ1otX9YEArv19pk4mXyAYous2RW
 >> fmailman%2flistinfo%2ftaxacom  The
 Taxacom Archive back to 1992 may be
 searched at:
 >> http://scanmail.trustwave.com/?c=4062&d=5OyZ1otX9YEArv19pk4mXyAYous2RW
 >>  Celebrating
 29 years of Taxacom in 2016.
 > Geoffrey B. Read, Ph.D.
 > 8 Zaida Way, Maupuia
 Wellington, NEW ZEALAND
 > gread at actrix.gen.nz
 > Taxacom Mailing List
 Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
 > http://scanmail.trustwave.com/?c=4062&d=5OyZ1otX9YEArv19pk4mXyAYous2RWoAK5C4avLU3g&s=978&u=http%3a%2f%2fmailman%2enhm%2eku%2eedu%2fcgi-bin%2fmailman%2flistinfo%2ftaxacom
 > The Taxacom Archive back to 1992 may be
 searched at:
 > http://scanmail.trustwave.com/?c=4062&d=5OyZ1otX9YEArv19pk4mXyAYous2RWoAK8TpZPSEgg&s=978&u=http%3a%2f%2ftaxacom%2emarkmail%2eorg
 > Celebrating 29 years
 of Taxacom in 2016.
 Geoffrey B. Read, Ph.D.
 8 Zaida Way, Maupuia
 Wellington, NEW ZEALAND
 gread at actrix.gen.nz
 Taxacom Mailing List
 Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
 The Taxacom Archive back to 1992 may be
 searched at: http://taxacom.markmail.org
 Celebrating 29 years of
 Taxacom in 2016.

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