Scientists are talking, but mostly to each other: a quantitative analysis of research

Stavros

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This is not ceph related. It talks about how new knowledge circulates mostly between fellow scientists and never reaches the public.

I don't know how a journal can cover their expenses otherwise, but at some point, knowledge has to be free and accessible to all. With rising tuition costs, it seems that education is targeted to certain groups.

(The irony: this article is also not free).

Journal publication has long been relied on as the only required communication of results, tasking journalists with bringing news of scientific discoveries to the public. Output of science papers increased 15% between 1990 and 2001, with total output over 650,000. But, fewer than 0.013–0.34% of papers gained attention from mass media, with health/medicine papers taking the lion’s share of coverage. Fields outside of health/medicine had an appearance rate of only 0.001–0.005%. In light of findings that show scientific literacy declining despite growing public interest and scientific output, this study attempts to show that reliance on journal publication and subsequent coverage by the media as the sole form of communication en masse is failing to communicate science to the public.
 

gjbarord

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That sounds about right. It can even be more frustrating when scientists are not even able to access the journals for a variety of reasons.

Greg
 

hermissenda

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*laugh*

I wouldn't have noticed this !
(The irony: this article is also not free).[/QUOTE]

That being said, the subject if scientific literacy is a complicated one, starting with trying to define it. I don't know that the general public having access to scientific research would improve the case - especially without first educating everyone how to discern a good study from a bad one (which would be a really good thing!) I do think that with the growth of the internet scientists are able to collaborate more outside of journals. Also, with the growth of so many online databases of back articles a lot more research has been combined to create meta-statistics, and that has to be forwarding science. While it is *intensely* frustrating to not have access to, or have to pay a limb for an article one wants, I think on the whole we have more access to scientific research than ever before.

Cindy in Portland OR
 

OB

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Peer review remains the solid foundation of scientifice knowledge dissemination. I personally am a staunch supporter of open access publishing. For those who are interested, simply start browsing the Public Library of Science journal PLoS1 to get to grips with its benefits.
 

Tintenfisch

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Yes, I have several things I would very much (have) like(d) to make open access, but PLoS1 publication charges are US$1350 per article, and for Zootaxa they would have been $20/page ($3720). A little prohibitive :sad:
 

OB

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Whether your (institutional) library spends its funds on subscriptions, or on allowing its scientists to be published, shouldn't matter wrt the total amount spent: someone will have to pay for the process itself... The main difference is that the subscription based model only allows for limited access, while open access allows access for everyone at the same level of investment...
 

hermissenda

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Tintenfisch;178990 said:
Yes, I have several things I would very much (have) like(d) to make open access, but PLoS1 publication charges are US$1350 per article, and for Zootaxa they would have been $20/page ($3720). A little prohibitive :sad:
OUCH! Prohibitive isn't the word! Maybe extortive? I suppose there is a need for some kind of pain threshold/gateway to maintain some intellectual integrity or risk the Wiki effect. I have always assumed the article price tag was coming from the institutions that funded the research, or the researcher and felt they had a right to benefit from the results. Thanks for the enlightenment!
 

OB

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Open access needn't be vanity publishing, peer review should be severe and sincere, either way!
 

mucktopus

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Many journals can waive publication fees if authors don't have funding (and in the case of PLoS there's a particularly important reason for the paper to be open access).

Also- all publisher links to journal articles also list the contact info for the corresponding author. It's common to write the author directly to ask for for a free pdf reprint if they have one.
 

Joe-Ceph

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I'm only a layman, so for give the ignorance, but who owns the copyright to these papers? The authors? The institutions? The journals? What value do the journals provide that justifies the ransom they demand? Why can't the authors or the institutions just make these papers available for $1 each on ITunes? It seems like a rigged system that uses mostly public money to do research that produces results that are then sold back to the public at an extremely high price, effectively denying public access. Am I missing something.
 

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