[Taxacom] OSTP request for information on Public Access to Peer-Reviewed Scholarly Publications, Data and Code Resulting From US Federally Funded Research

John Grehan calabar.john at gmail.com
Mon Mar 2 18:17:57 CST 2020


OK - got that! Cheers.

John Grehan

On Mon, Mar 2, 2020 at 7:05 PM Stephen Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>
wrote:

> Then you didn't understand what I just said, John, as it was the opposite!
> I said that the traditional free-to-publish, pay-to-read situation is
> adequate and doesn't need changing. Why should I care if the profits that
> currently go to corporate publishers go instead to corporate science
> institutions? One fat cat rather than another. I doubt much/any of it will
> trickle down to scientist level in a way that results in either more good
> science being done or better science being done.
> Stephen
>
> On Monday, 2 March 2020, 10:06:20 pm UTC, John Grehan <
> calabar.john at gmail.com> wrote:
>
>
> OK, I get it that you think the current situation is bad and that you are
> only pointing that out, not offering solutions.
>
> Thanks. John Grehan
>
> On Mon, Mar 2, 2020 at 4:01 PM Stephen Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>
> wrote:
>
> John,
> I don't see any point in discussing an "ideal" situation - it ain't gonna
> happen. I just suggest that the traditional situation (i.e. free to
> publish, pay to read) works sufficiently well and does not need changing as
> all the likely replacement scenarios are worse, i.e. their main "advantage"
> is simply to boost profits for research institutions operating on public
> funding. In the long run, it diverts billions from public money which could
> otherwise be used more productively. If taxes are increased to cover the
> extra costs, then that is money which could otherwise be used for
> healthcare, welfare, etc. If taxes are not increased, then less research
> will be done for the same amount of public funding, and publishers will
> pocket the difference via OA fees. I just don't see this as a win for
> anyone except corporate research institutions and publishers.
> Stephen
>
> On Monday, 2 March 2020, 08:42:34 pm UTC, John Grehan <
> calabar.john at gmail.com> wrote:
>
>
> Stephen, I quickly lose track of what is at issue. Could you summarize
> again (as I presume you already did this) what you see as the ideal
> situation and whether any current situations fit the bill.
>
> Thanks. John Grehan
>
> On Mon, Mar 2, 2020 at 3:20 PM Stephen Thorpe via Taxacom <
> taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> wrote:
>
>  I think we need to strip this discussion back to basics:
> The version of the OA argument that I object to goes something like this,
> in essence:
> The publication costs associated with publicly funded research should also
> be paid for by public funds.
> One thing that irks me is the way that I often see this statement spun
> into a supposed "public good" argument, going something like this:
> The results of publicly funded research should not be paywalled by greedy
> publishers. The results should be "free to read" by everyone.
> I "spit the dummy" here for two main reasons: (1) it costs money to make
> something "free to read", so all that is really happening is that public
> funds are being used to publish research, nobody is really getting anything
> for "free", and the general public gain no real benefit from access to
> literature that they have no reason to want to read!
> (2) Research institutions are no less "greedy" than publishers! Currently,
> they are effectively paying publication costs, by way of subscriptions,
> which diminishes their potential profits. Hence they just want to pass this
> cost on to the public purse. Again, it is hard to see any "public good" as
> a result. It is even hard to see what benefits scientists get from this?
> Note also that it is likely to result in less research being done for the
> same amount of public research funding, since some of it will have to be
> spent on publication (OA) costs, though we already have less scrupulous
> scientists overloading funded projects with expenses in order to reduce the
> amount of actual work/research they have to do for the project. This tactic
> also benefits their employing institutions, via "overheads", if they can
> spend the remaining funding quickly and effortlessly and then move on
> quickly to the next funded project, but is that really the way we want
> science to be???
> Stephen
>     On Monday, 2 March 2020, 04:31:48 pm UTC, Fernandez, Jose (AAFC/AAC)
> via Taxacom <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> wrote:
>
>  Hi Nick,
>
> No, I am not the taker you were looking for (for solving the CNS problem
> ;-)  And I do not think there is an easy solution for that, unless it comes
> from the top (one cannot expect that a grad student, looking for her/his
> place in the scientific community, starts publishing in "low impact"
> journals, that way jeopardizing her/his chances of finding a job). I am
> also pessimistic, as this society is losing the ability to judge the true
> value of things, instead relying on "likes", "followers", "clicks (on
> websites)" "impact"... But I fully agree with most of your points (and
> those of Carlos and many of Stephen's).
>
> For a few years now, I have thought that we (scientists) should push more
> for OA platinum access (like the European Journal of Taxonomy mentioned by
> Carlos). These days, as Nick well said, the "costs of publishing" are much
> smaller. They may involve paying for a server (to host journal/papers), and
> having a few professionals involved with day to day activities (webmaster,
> layout editor, some programmers). There is no one anymore down in the
> galleys assembling the movable types (I am not talking about holotypes here
> ;-), or mixing ink gallons, or cutting papers, or binding books... at least
> that is not required for most of the journals the scientific community
> uses. Of course, the (mostly) electronic publishing still has some costs
> (everything costs!), but it should not be thousands per article (or dozens
> per page), it should be a much cheaper cost. The EJT is indeed the way to
> go (and there are others, two that come to mind are the Acta Entomologica
> Musei Nationalis Praga or the Journal of the Entomological Society of
> Ontario, but I am sure that there are others... and, disclaimer, I have
> zero relationship with those two journals). Now, if we could build up upon
> those examples... It is mostly a matter of pushing this, and perhaps more
> scientists getting involved.
>
> [One topic not yet mentioned is the other side of the coin: The "easiness"
> of publishing electronic journals also opens the door for predatory
> journals, a pest that is becoming more and more prevalent... let's not go
> there now].
>
> As for the impact factor and similar (CSN problem)... Imagine if the
> scientific community would start giving more value to those (EJT-like)
> journals, then more papers are published there, then more citations/impact,
> then (perhaps!) they would become at some point more "important" and valued
> by the committees that assign grants and jobs... The initial effort would
> have to come from established scientist (with less to loose than new ones),
> and it may take a while until the move is strong enough as to get everyone
> else to accept it. [But I am pessimistic that we would reach a tipping
> point on that].
>
> Now, this list is about "taxonomy" (most of the times, or perhaps just
> some times ;-)  We have some (at least partial) success stories in
> taxonomy. The two most successful journals in taxonomy (Zootaxa and
> ZooKeys) are relatively "new", certainly not part of old
> established/traditional publishing houses. Zootaxa immense success is a
> result of being "free" for the authors (but of course, not OA as readers
> have to pay). And ZooKeys is the starship of Pensoft, with a really user
> friendly environment (to submit, review, edit papers), and a really cool
> overall vibe due to all tools available in Pensoft (but is not free either,
> as in this case authors have to pay). Whatever the criticisms we want to
> discuss about those two journals (and their publishing houses Magnolia
> Press and Pensoft), they still constitute success stories in the sense of
> accessing the "market shares" of taxonomic papers -however small and
> "unimportant" taxonomy is within the context of other scientific branches.
> Could you image if we would have a "ZooKeys-like" journal which would be
> truly free? So far EJT has not displaced the two big Zs, but perhaps is
> matter of time, marketing and/or making the interface with users friendlier
> (hint: look at ZooKeys!). Or perhaps something else happens, I do not claim
> to know the future or even being able to predict it. [Now, if we could only
> get one of the Kardashians or Justin Bieber saying to their followers that
> publishing in the European Journal of Taxonomy is the cool way to go... ;-)]
>
> But I would love if we could, as a scientific community, have an impact in
> reducing the amount of money spent on activities that indeed do not need
> that much. And, I FULLY agree with the "Open Science" concept that Carlos
> mentioned. Can we get there?
>
> Cheers,
> Jose
>
> --
> José L. Fernández-Triana, Ph.D.
> Research Scientist, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
> Canadian National Collection of Insects (CNC)
> 960 Carling Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0C6, CANADA
> Phone: 613-759-1034. Email: jose.fernandez at canada.ca
> Alternative email : cnc.braconidae at gmail.com
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Taxacom <taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> On Behalf Of Nick
> Grishin via Taxacom
> Sent: Sunday, March 1, 2020 5:27 PM
> To: Taxa com <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] OSTP request for information on Public Access to
> Peer-Reviewed Scholarly Publications, Data and Code Resulting From US
> Federally Funded Research
>
> > Hi Nic,You said: "Now, while Universities are still paying same
> > subscriptions fees (from overhead), researchers are charged for OA
> > from their grants".Fleshing this out a bit more:One BIG unknown is the
> > extent to which OA will be retrospective, or whether the 75 year (or
> > whatever it is) copyright period will continue to be upheld. Hence, we
> > could end up in a situation of having to pay subscriptions to access a
> > lot of what is already published (more of a problem for taxonomy than
> > many other sciences, which makes heavy use of legacy literature) AND
> > having to pay OA fees to publish new stuff!
>
> Well, yes, that's partly what I was saying. Today, a larger fraction of
> the budget effectively allocated for science & education is channelled
> towards publishing than before OA. I guess one can argue that it is part of
> educational mission and maybe that's how it should really be. I argue that
> spending on publishing today is grossly excessive and doesn't achieve
> educational goals, but it does profit publishers.
>
> I remember that 25 year ago I was physically walking into a library,
> finding a journal and making a xerox copy of the paper I needed. So, if the
> library paid for it, it had it "forever", even if they later decided to
> stop subscribing to this journal. It is logical if this practice upholds
> for electronic subscriptions. But I can surely imagine that the crumbling
> publishing industry will find legal ways to retaliate and do what you fear
> about. That industry landed on their feet by sprawling OA journals charging
> up to $5000 per small paper.
>
>
> > Also, note that it benefits the university for the researcher to pay
> > for OA from their grants. I have already explained how. If the
> > researcher does less work/research for the same grant (after the uni
> > has claimed the "overheads"), then they can go back for more funding
> > and repeat the process more efficiently. The last thing that the uni
> > wants (presumably) is for a researcher to be tied up for a long time
> > working on one external grant.Cheers, Stephen
>
> Yes and no. That would be a dumb university (not that they do not exist).
> The most valuable commodity here is prestige, because only that is more
> effective than anything in brining more money in. The best for the
> university would be if their researchers make seminal scientific
> discoveries and win various prizes, like the Nobel. That will allow the
> university to raise more private money as donations and to recruit better
> researchers, who are more willing to come to a more prestigious place and
> are more capable of raising more money, so that they can make better
> discoveries repeating the cycle. (Or a university could have a better spots
> team instead).
>
> Finally, this prestige issue is the crux of the publishing problem and
> paper access. This CNS (Cell, Nature, Science for journal titles) problem
> is a hard nut to crack. Due to the prestige of these journals, publishing a
> paper in one of them means getting best academic jobs (better university,
> higher salary, higher startup funds) for the lead authors of the paper. If
> the CNS issue goes away, there would be no problem with the archive-based
> publishing instead of journal-based publishing. But I do not have a
> foggiest idea about how to fight the CNS issue. Really, none! If anything,
> the problem only becomes more severe with time, as more people are getting
> into science and leaders are less capable of judging the merits of each
> paper as it stands, instead of by prestige of a journal in which it was
> published.
>
> Someone who is ingenious enough to solve the CNS problem will make this
> world a better place for publishing and research. Any takers out there?
>
> n
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