[Taxacom] Paywall our taxonomic tidbit

Daniel Leo Gustafsson kotatsu.no.leo at gmail.com
Sun Jan 17 19:37:41 CST 2016

Given how many groups of amateurs interested in insects I am part of
(facebook and elsewhere), and how many
bird/butterfly/dragonfly/whatever-watchers I know offline who are indeed
very interested in obtaining published taxonomic papers for this or that
group (sadly VERY few people I know are interested in lice...), I do agree
with the face-value of "the public has the right to free access to the
results of research funded by the public purse". Evidently my assessment of
how much in demand taxonomic papers (especially revisions) are differs
substantially from yours.

I don't give a damn about the copyright issue, though, and gladly download
things I have access to and send to people who want or need it, whether or
not I've ever been involved in the production of that paper at any stage,
and will continue doing so as long as I am affiliated with a university.
That is a non-issue to me. Things like scratchpads and the various
paleontological initiatives I've seen are phenomenal for this, achieving
precisely the results I want (the people who want the papers or data get
the papers or data) without anyone having to pay the publishing companies
more than library fees and whatever else is necessary to keep them afloat
(I don't think I've ever paid for open access, and don't intend to either,
as anything I publish becomes open access on the scratchpad...).

So yeah, in general I suppose I both agree and disagree with you. I am all
for open access, but will not pay for it. I will just do what I can to
realise the ideal of open access whether this is in the interest of the
publisher or not. Obviously they can survive without being paid for open
access, so any claim that they need to be reimbursed for publishing
something open access is bogus from the outset.


On Sun, Jan 17, 2016 at 6:08 PM, Stephen Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>

> 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.
> Cheers,
> Stephen
> --------------------------------------------
> 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
>  so.
>  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
>  the
>  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
>  homepage.
>  Cheers,
>  Leo

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