As a scientist and a blogger and a science communicator, I luvs me some open access publishing! I can link to a paper everyone can read, people can leave questions or comments or ideas in my comment section– its interactive and educational and a lot more fun for everyone (I end up learning a lot answering peoples Qs, or by others answers myself).
I also love the idea of open comments on papers. I dont have to hunt down an email and hope an author responds to a technical question or point– post your question/comment, and either someone on the paper or someone else can answer it for you! Super easy clarifications– and like I tell commentors here, if you have a question, ASK. If you are wondering about something, odds are lots of people have that same question too. Authors dont have to answer the same Q a billion times– its in their papers ‘comments’ section. Huzzah!
But something Ive noticed is that on public access papers with comment sections… anyone can leave a comment. Anyone. Including people who have very strong opinions, but dont have a *clue* what they are talking about. I do not mean people in a field arguing over a point of contention. I mean someone 1) not in the field, with no working understanding of the topic, 2) not understanding a paper, 3) leaving ignorant, even hateful comments on open access papers.
They treat open access papers like an internet forum.
Now, there is nothing wrong with stupid questions. I find myself asking stupid questions all the time.
This was a stupid comment, where Gandalfrodo vociferously argued a stupid point, which he didnt know what stupid because he has no idea what he is talking about. But boy howdy, hesagunna tell that hoidy-toity SCIENTIST whats up, though!
A PI attempted to humor her/him, and was rewarded with somehow even stupider responses, escalating in tone, shrillness, and frequency. Its obvious to even the most casual observer hes just making up shit as he goes along, and is coo-coo-bananas.
Apparently Gryffindore thinks he is ‘taking Dusty Miller to task‘.
I mean, this is not a difficult concept to grasp. Casual readers of ERVs understand the implications of finding two retroviruses integrated in the same location in experimentally infected cell lines and ‘human samples’, not once, but twice. They understand the implications of these viruses not only being in identical locations, but the viruses themselves being identical. One, from cell lines infected with a functionally clonal stock of viruses (lab grown) in the lab, and the other from a wild-type, pathogenic, found in nature with all of the accompanying selective pressures.
Its not just the integration sites that are identical. Its the viruses.
Casual readers of ERV are (mostly) not professional retrovirologists. They ‘get it’. Bob Silverman is a professional retrovirologist. He gets it.
But Brave Sir Gyreynyory thinks he is talking all of us ‘to task’ with papers that have nothing to do with the topic at hand, and declaring we dont understand ‘the scientific method’. In the comments section of a real, PubMed listed publication.
It completely inappropriate. Gyyyyyyyn is not paying me or Miller or any of the articles authors tuition to teach him the basics of our field. And even if he were, the comment section of a paper is an inappropriate location for such a discussion.
There is a place on the internet where everyone and anyone can leave stupid, insightful, humorous, or annoying comments. Hell, sometimes the stupid/annoying ones are actively encouraged. Its called the blogosphere. There are any number of virology blags on the internet, run by professional virologists, who love to talk about and teach their readers about virology. There is no damn reason why an Average Artard needs to be acting up in the comment section of a professional publication, any more than I need to be throwing a temper tantrum about X-wing flight in the cockpit of the 7.30 am OKC to Dallas flight, or bitching to a Michelin Star chef about how she doesnt understand French cooking like I do (I read about it on the Google Machine!).
It would be nice if these pro-internet, pro-technology open access publications would allow some kind of links to papers. A side-bar of ‘blog coverage of this paper’ or something. Seems like it wouldnt be too difficult to merge some online publications with the network already built up by ResearchBlogging.org, and it would be a great three-way street. Bloggers would get traffic, authors would get more exposure for their work and be able to see reactions to their work, and readers would easily be able to switch back-and-forth between tabs, having a science blogger tell them the basics, so they understand the publication itself better, and then they have a professional in the field right there on the blog where they can ask questions or leave comments, leaving the paper comment section open for ‘We tried X and couldnt get it to work! What pH was your buffer??’.
Of course, I am under no illusion that this kind of set up would actually dissuade people like Gyyyyyyyyyy from leaving comments on papers. His kind are a dime-a-dozen, Ive seen it a million times. They have no intention of learning anything. Their intention is to get attention from people they think are important. This means they are entirely uninterested in commenting on a science blog (especially a girls blog) and learning something. They are interested in attention from ‘important people’ so they can pretend they too are important. Like how Ray Comfort and Michael Behe wont debate me (or hell, even address me directly, in Behes case), while they pull Dawkins pig-tails and run, hoping he chases them. Or like when I make an argument, an Important Male like Coyne encourages my point, and people argue with him instead of me, because hes Important. Those kinds of people, I dont know what to do with them. Arrogant assholes are going to be arrogant assholes no matter how many more appropriate outlets you give them for their asshollery.
But I think adding links to research blogging on research papers would be a great addition to Open Access papers for normal people.