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Open Access For Research Gaining Steam 64

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the popularity-contests dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The BBC reports that open access to research is gaining steam as more than 20,000 people, including Nobel Prize winners, have signed a petition calling for greater access to publicly-funded research. While publishers are fighting open access, a growing number of funding agencies and universities are making it a mandatory requirement."
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Open Access For Research Gaining Steam

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  • Seen it (Score:5, Informative)

    by scdeimos (632778) on Friday March 02, 2007 @01:49AM (#18203878)

    It's just like this story [slashdot.org] on Slashdot this morning. Even links to the same story [bbc.co.uk] on BBC.

  • by Coryoth (254751) on Friday March 02, 2007 @02:13AM (#18203994) Homepage Journal

    On the one hand, peer review and editing (things which closed journals often provide) are important.
    You do realise that refereeing for journals is often unpaid work work right? At its worst the article author does the research, writes the paper, typesets the paper (often according to journal guidelines, and journal provided LaTeX documentclasses), and then pays the journal (on a per page basis) for the privilege of getting published. The journal, in turn, electronically distributes the papers to referees who provide peer review for free, so that a unpaid editorial board can decide what to print, at thich point the publisher collects the already typeset articles into a single document, prints it, and then university libraries charges thousands of dollars a year per journal for subscriptions. Where do those thousands of dollars a year per journal go? Straight to the publisher. The editorial board may get a small token amount. There is nothing journals from publishers like Elsevier provide that open access journals can't provide for a token fee: the articles, the peer review, the editorial board, are often all free - it is a matter of prestige for those involved. Likewise, in this day and age, typesetting is provided by the authors (who use TeX), and distribution (both to referees for review, and final distribution as a journal) can be provided electronically for marginal cost. At worst you need to pay for an editorial board, and someone to compile the separate TeX articles into a single consistent document.
  • by Somnus (46089) on Friday March 02, 2007 @02:20AM (#18204020)
    Allow me to cite an earlier source [slashdot.org].
  • by shura57 (727404) * on Friday March 02, 2007 @03:17AM (#18204244) Homepage
    In Wikipedia anybody and their dog can edit. In contrast, in peer-reviewed journals it's the editors who select the competent referees. Your comparison is not fair: there is definitely a bunch of loonies who would love to referee the papers, but they never get invited.

    Nobody said that the publisher has to be handsomely paid to have an unpaid editors and unpaid reviewer that they have now.
  • by ChemE (1070458) on Friday March 02, 2007 @03:20AM (#18204250) Homepage
    On the one hand, peer review and editing (things which closed journals often provide) are important.... On the other hand, why the hell should it cost anything for someone to read the research that their taxpayer dollars are funding?
    These, however, do not have to be exclusive. For example, the Public Library of Science (Plos) now has a number of journals which are peer reviewed. But they are freely accessible through the internet. In addition the authors maintain the copyright through use of the Creative Commons license. And their goal is to be at the level of Science or Nature. See http://www.plos.org/ [plos.org]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 02, 2007 @04:29AM (#18204536)
    My goodness, if only you were right. I have found Elsiveier's journals to be rather TEX- unfriendly, and many other (medical) journals expect things in "pc-friendly format" (by which I think they mean M$ word). Maybe I should have stayed with computer science...

    YIIAS, and YILT (I love TEX)

    Oh, most of your post is correct. I'm just peer-reviewing your statement that journals let the authors do the typesetting in TEX.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 02, 2007 @05:15AM (#18204712)
    People spend time and resources in developing those results and then another amount of time and resrouces to write them, then another pack of people spend an amount of time and resources to review those wtitings and then some money to publish them. Why on Earth do people think the final product of this sometimes quite consuming and lengthy process should be made freely available to the rest of them ?

    The problem is it is the same people: scientists write papers, and review each other papers. They get paid very little, if anything by the publishers for either of these activities. Then when they want to read a paper they have to pay a huge fee to the journals.

    So you see the problem with this model? Yep, publishers get all the money and do none of the work. Often with online journals you rent access to them, and if your subscription lapses, you can't read the papers any more. Traditional scientific publishing has discovered the digital age, and decided that the music industry model is the one to follow.

  • by GreatBunzinni (642500) on Friday March 02, 2007 @06:07AM (#18204930)
    You haven't even read the article, have you? The gripe isn't about how the "closed" journals should be made available for free. The "closed" journals aren't even considered here. If you spent a few seconds skimming through the article you would realize that what is being demanded here is that the papers which are produced by public research institutions, papers which are funded by public money, should be made freely available and that their access should not be restricted and much less the exclusive property of private publishers. Do you understand your miss-interpretation here? No one is demanding that the private publishers offer their publications for free. The demand is that papers written by public research institutions should be made available to the general public as soon as they are made available to those private publishers.

    Of course the private publishers are against it. Until now they had the monopoly and complete control on scientific publications and their content's distribution. As soon as the gross of it's content can be made available to the general public they start to get forced out of the loop. Heck, as soon as someone creates a central public repository of scientific publications where anyone and everyone can access, which will reinforce the peer-review process (which is naturally hindered by the way the old style scientific publications work), the publishers, as they currently are, will become totally irrelevant.

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