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

Stavros

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Tim Gowers' reply to Elsevier's open letter.

From Tim Gowers' blog

Elsevier’s open letter point by point, and some further arguments
February 26, 2012

I’ve had this post sitting around half written for a long time, so I’ve decided to post it without saying everything I wanted to say and have done with it. Even the things I do say are not as organized as I’d normally like.

In response to the recent boycott and the discussion it has generated, Elsevier has put out an open letter entitled A message to the research community: journal prices, discounts and access. It was more or less guaranteed that I would not be satisfied by what they had to say, since my view is that the entire system of commercial publishing of academic papers needs to be replaced, whereas Elsevier was almost certain to be arguing from within the current system. When a paradigm shift takes place, one does not expect the main players to remain the same.

Nevertheless, it seems only fair to make some attempt to respond to the points Elsevier has to make, rather than simply saying that there is nothing they can do, or at least nothing they can do that they would be likely to be prepared to do. So let me explain why I find their open letter unsatisfactory even on their own terms (that is, even if we make the assumption that what is needed is more like an adjustment to the current system than a replacement of it). The letter starts with some statements of the kind one might expect, about how their mission is to serve the research community and so on. The substantive part of their letter is then divided into bullet points, where they claim to correct the distortions that have been advanced. I’ll look at each of those in turn.

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OB

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I would say the most costly aspect of it all is keeping a system alive which allows for access ad infinitum. In the old universe of print, you'd archive in a library/depository, in pdf or hypertext you'll need to keep verything intact and available for continuous access, linking and future reference... And then, back in my days a s science publisher, there was my expense account :wink:
 

DWhatley

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It looks like someone put a lot of effort into a best of class attempt (why only solid earth though?) format. If qualified people participate, it could be a great template for additional topics.
 

Stavros

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Elsevier’s recent update to its letter to the mathematical community

Elsevier has recently put out a new statement giving details of some changes it has made. In their own words,

In February, we informed you of a series of important changes that we are making to how the Elsevier mathematics program will be run. In this letter, we would like to update you on where we currently stand, and inform you of some new initiatives we have undertaken based upon the feedback we have received from the community.

--More--
 

OB

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http://peerj.com/

Not intended as a commercial plug, just to inform you that the man behind PLoS One has just improved on the concept :smile:
 

DWhatley

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Too bad they are in the UK. They are looking for a programmer and this would be a fun challenge.
 

OB

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One of the co-owners lives in San Fran and these days, you don't have to be in an office to communicate with your colleagues?
 



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