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).
- Backlash Against Academic Publishing Continues to Grow (michaelgeist.ca)
- Provocative proposal to force scholarly publishers to respect open-access wishes of their unpaid contributors (boingboing.net)
- Harvard Libraries join the fight for open access (scienceblogs.com)
- Harvard advisory council promotes open access publishing, says journals are too expensive (theverge.com)
Does scholarly publishing drive information technology (IT)? Or does IT drive scholarly publishing?
If you believe the former, you essentially agree that academic culture trumps technology — that incentives reflecting a deeper belief system ultimately blunt and shape any intrusion of technology; legal and cultural precedents largely withstand the whims of technological change; and human nature remains fundamentally the same despite a new veneer of technological capabilities.
If you believe the latter, you probably instinctively feel that technological revolutions will inevitably yield social revolutions on a magnitude as great or greater than the technology itself would suggest; that legal and social contracts can crumble under the pressure of technological change; and that human nature can be overcome if surrounded by enough technology.
Open access advocates and self-anointed revolutionaries often come from the “technology trumps culture” camp. I remember asking Harold Varmus in the early days of e-Biomed why it seemed…
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Publishing his owns errors seems at a first look very courageous. But acting like this could be collectively a step forward. Science like life goes ahead with a succession of failures and successes. Letting known the former to the scientific community could indeed enhance the chances of the latter to occur. But human selfishness will reduce drastically the number of author who will submit their errors to such a journal. Unless anonymous submission is an option . Such a journal of errology will deserve a great advertising before the launch: I thought of: Free of charge, no submission fee, open access and pseudonyms accepted!
Anyway, no more joking, in health services, awareness of misleading recommendations or discovery of errors in assessment procedures of guideline’s respect should merit a journal of Errology. Three comments on the topic posted on retraction watch made me laugh: I pasted theme below:
The first comment:
Great find! I think I should submit the story of my life to them!
The fourth comment:
I would like to submit a manuscript to Journal of Errology but, unfortunately, my research project worked.
And last the example of a paper full of errors you can access in full text here.
Read more on retraction watch.
Free access to publicly funded research
How can people access freely to publicly funded research results?
From two things one: – either the government agencies buy the copyrights of privates scholarly publishers and then make available articles on governmental web sites
– or it publish himself the final reports or the intermediate or progress reports that the publicly funded researchers have produced.
But one thing for sure, since the recent “research works act” bill, the government or the federal agencies have no more the possibility to force or to mandate for free, by rule, the dissemination of the private scholarly publications issued from the peer reviewed journals.
A third possibility should be the government using the open access journals, but in that case instead of buying the copyrights afterward, federal agencies will be charged before the publication procedure.
Nevertheless, we have to keep in mind that the fundamental difference between a final report of a research work and a peer reviewed article issued from the same research work are: – the length (average length for a report: 60 pages vs 20 for an article), – the use of technical and complex words in the writing (because the articles are peer reviewed and aimed at the intention of a wider number of readers, mostly outside the institution, technical words and context have to be explained), – the transfer of responsibility in case of mistake or falsification of data (private publisher are eager to retract the article if a falsification or a conflict of interest is disclosed but will a federal agencies do the same?) and last but not least – scholarly publications are the products of multinational, world-wide expanded, globalised enterprises that are independent from the policy of a single state. And this must be seen as a guarantee of the independence of science from political pressure like, for example, the recent attempt by the US government to stop the publication by a Netherlander searchers team of their findings on the H5N1 flu virus mutation capacity (see here and here for more information).
Below are three references if you want to read more on the topic of the dissemination of research works:
1)My Argument for Public Access to Research Reports
2)Publishers Applaud “Research Works Act,”Bipartisan Legislation To End
Government Mandates on Private-Sector Scholarly Publishing
3)A BILLTo ensure the continued publication and integrity of peer-
reviewed research works by the private sector.
- Stop U.S. legislation that would block public access to publicly funded research (creativecommons.org)
- Many NIH-funded clinical trials go unpublished over two years after completion (with ClinicalTrials.gov link for many trial study results) (jflahiff.wordpress.com)
- Scholarly Societies: It’s time to abandon the AAP over The Research Works Act [Confessions of a Science Librarian] (scienceblogs.com)
- Congress wants to limit open access publishing for the US government’s $28B/year subsidized research (boingboing.net)