2 May

A tremendous post on the question to know whether information technologies trump the scholarly publishing or whether the academic publishing subordinates itself to the information technologies. In my view the response is that both statements are true because the respective influence is not at all linear but instead pretty much interactive. As for the sponsored payments by the tobacco industry for author-paid open access publishing, the expression of concern is also relevant for the traditional publishing because private corporations can very well sponsor subscriptions in reader-paid publishing. The key point is the conflict of interest disclosure (which is perhaps more easy to uncover in the open access publishing where the payment is made on behalf of the author).


4 Responses to “”

  1. Janice Flahiff May 5, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    “In my view the response is that both statements are true because the respective influence is not at all linear but instead pretty much interactive.”
    Really appreciate this holistic (both/and) insight! Too often I see academics so passionate (and maybe rightly so at times) about an idea…that the idea becomes “hardwired” into their identity so that the idea needs to be defended instead of being used as a tool.
    In the last 15 years ago…I’ve come across news items and articles which cause me to “unlearn” as the role of “junk” DNA, how addictive behavior can best be treated, and the role of the appendix . So, while I relearn, it is with the understanding that these hypotheses will change, and that researchers are overall doing the best they can..

    On another note, From the blog you quoted
    “Despite more than a decade of rich HTML interfaces, the formatted article encapsulated in the PDF remains the coin of the realm in academic publishing. ”
    Maybe, but in my last position as a medical librarian (where I had access to fee based articles) I came across online articles (in peer reviewed journals) which went beyond PDFs – including videos and if memory serves me correctly richer graphics and options for responses.

    Thanks for posting this, and again your comments. much appreciated.
    Also the Oscar Wilde quote is a good one.

  2. Ha-Vinh May 5, 2012 at 11:55 am #

    Many thanks for your comments Janice, as a medical librarian, have you seen that Harvard University wants to finance less its library subscriptions to scholarly journals and for that purpose incites its searchers to publish in Open Access journals (payed by the authors of the paper submitted). I would be glad to know your thoughts about this strategy. Is it true that in a University budget the charges dedicated to scientific journals subscriptions is so high? Will the money spared by this strategy serve to reduce the student’s registration fees?

    • Janice Flahiff May 7, 2012 at 5:00 pm #

      Hello Ha-Vinh..Disclaimer alert! I have not worked in a medical library in two years, and never saw a detailed library budget in any of my positions.
      From what I gather on medical library listservs and informal discussions in the past with colleagues…yes, the charges for scientific journals publications are high. I am able to find articles…it would take me a few days.
      A related matter, back in the late 80’s I was in an academic library (not medical) as a library assistant. The librarians were facing “out of control” subscription costs…and needed to cut subscriptions. Many faculty members, when they saw the list, based at least partly on usage, were, well, upset that their favorite(s) was (were) being cancelled. So, the librarians suggested a non-libarian faculty review board to select those that would be cancelled. The faculty senate decided the librarians could make the objective use-based cuts.
      Would the money saved reduce student registration fees? I don’t know how to answer this, being out of academia now, and never have been a participant in budget discussions, recommendations, much less decisions. Money saved on one aspect of library budgets tends to go into the university budget as a whole, in my humble opinion.

      Not sure if I answered the questions fully. Let me know if I can respond to anything specific!

      There are a lot of related factors when it comes to subscription costs…as ever increasing biomedical specializations, “publish or perish”, emphasis on individual achievements, little collaboration among researchers for projects, much less direction/focus in needed studies..etc, etc…Again, just my thoughts as an observer, not participant!

      Keep up the good work here at your blog. Posts are thought provoking.

  3. Ha-Vinh May 7, 2012 at 10:21 pm #

    Janice, thanks for your contribution which puts a particular, from inside, enlightenment on the forces at work in the sharing of knowledge. Money is one of those factors, and I can imagine that the responsibility of choosing which revue to “eliminate” was a burden not so easy to bear.
    Many thanks again

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