[Taxacom] Paywall our taxonomic tidbit

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Sun Jan 17 19:08:39 CST 2016

Hi Leo,

What you say is true, and indeed there seems to be much uncertainty regarding where authors can post their own publications without breaching copyright (where the publisher, not the author, is often the copyright holder). I gave the example earlier of a recent 50 page paper in Zootaxa on N.Z. Aleocharinae, which is not open access on the publisher's website, but is posted in full on ResearchGate. I'm not sure how that works. But, at any rate, it isn't just about reading individual articles (as I'm sure Rod Page will agree with me here). There are issues relating to data reuse and related issues about the large scale use of publications for large data aggregating projects. I don't know the details, but it seems that authors and/or publishers can publish data without making that data available for reuse. I guess it is like a composer publishing a song, but nobody else can perform the song in public without paying due royalties to the composer and/or publisher. I don't think science should be like this, in part because people rarely make money from data reuse, and citation is a good thing in science, but has no close equivalent in the entertainment industry. But, I have to ask what actual good use, if any, really comes from the reuse of taxonomic data? Is it worth paying $millions per year for? All these factors are knitted together in a complex way, but it certainly is not just a matter of "the public has the right to free access to the results of research funded by the public purse". I suggest that is little more than a meaningless bit of rhetoric.



On Mon, 18/1/16, Daniel Leo Gustafsson <kotatsu.no.leo at gmail.com> 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>, "Fred Schueler" <bckcdb at istar.ca>
 Received: Monday, 18 January, 2016, 1:43 PM
 In my field (chewing lice) the
 solution is that virtually everything gets uploaded to a
 scratchpad, where it can be accessed by anyone who wants. I
 recently heard the manager of our scratchpad say that about
 a third of all published papers on lice ever were on there,
 with the majority of the missing papers being on treatment
 and other studies of human or livestock lice. The scratchpad
 is of course somewhat limited to what someone submits, but
 virtually all taxonomic papers ever published on lice are
 available from there. Perhaps in some minor way connected to
 this, there seem to be many more authors from non-western
 countries publishing studies on lice in the last decade or
 I haven't
 had much reason to look at other scratchpads, but I had a 
 colleague who was working on a similar thing for fungus
 gnats and making
  online distribution maps and stuff for that group in the
 scratchpad. I am a member of some facebook groups that share
 share all new publications on Mesozoic and Paleozoic papers
 (taxonomical and otherwise) in a similar manner, trying to
 build up extensive databases. 
 One drawback (except for papers that are not in
 the database) I have 
 come across is that people sometimes submit final drafts to
 database, so the page numbers and so on are not always in
 the version in
  the scratchpad. This is a very minor drawback, though, as
 this data can
  typically be obtained for free from the publisher's

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