Pharyngula

Information must be free

My little trip distracted me with the perfect timing to miss the amazing fair-use flare-up — I’m back just in time to catch the happy resolution. I guess I’ll say something anyway, but I’ll be brief.

The general question is whether blogs should be restrained from using figures and data published in scientific journals. My position is that we should use them — scientific information should be freely and widely disseminated, anything else is antithetical to the advancement of science. The only constraints I think are fair is that all material taken from a journal should be acknowledged and formally cited, and that dumping whole articles to the web should not be done. It wouldn’t be appropriate for our audiences anyway; we should be explaining and synthesizing, not blindly replicating.

I’m glad it has blown over for now, at least. Let’s hope journals continue to be sensible about letting blogs excerpt portions of published work—they have a specialized audience, we have a more general audience, and we hope that blogging about science will lead to more scientists, which will increase the market for the science journals. Everyone will be happy!

Comments

  1. #1 Shelley
    April 26, 2007

    Thanks for commenting, PZ. 🙂

  2. #2 Christian Burnham
    April 26, 2007

    That sounds good to me.

    Personally, I think that all scientific articles should be in the public domain. After all, most of it is funded by the tax payer. Why should someone who has cancer have to pay 40 bucks to get a reprint of a paper discussing her medication?

  3. #3 ian
    April 26, 2007

    I think it brings up the larger question of whether academic journals should be subscription-based in the first place. Obviously this particular incident had a “simple” solution which isn’t quite the same as who should own the intellectual property that is scientific work.

    It kind of galls me when I put my blood, sweat and tears into a research project, with my salary and the cost of the equipment and materials paid for by grants almost entirely funded by taxpayer money and the end of the whole process, the entity that owns the copyright for the work is a private publishing firm?!?! Even the peer-reviewing is done by researchers in the field who are not paid. And subscription costs aren’t cheap…a lot of small schools have to make some really tough decisions about journal subscriptions.

    Anyway, I know it’s not quite the same issue as fair-use, but this subject always hits a nerve with me. And I know there’s been some discussion of this point in the larger scientific circles as well, so I’m curious what you think.

  4. #4 Christian Burnham
    April 26, 2007

    According to the ACS website you can read my papers for free 70 years after I die, when copyright expires.

    Still another 18 years to go before you can read work from this ‘Albert Einstein’ guy for free. I hear he’s got some interesting ideas.

  5. #5 Torbjrn Larsson
    April 26, 2007

    the entity that owns the copyright for the work

    I don’t know if copyright ever made sense for scientific material. Science has other systems (review and slander 😉 that prohibits outright copy theft.

    Online open-access journal PLoS has an interesting copyright:

    Upon submission of an article, authors are asked to indicate their agreement to abide by an open-access license. The license permits any user to download, print out, extract, archive, and distribute the article, so long as appropriate credit is given to the authors and source of the work. The license ensures that your article will be as widely available as possible and that your article can be included in any scientific archive.

    This goes beyond PZ’s sound recommendations on replication, but I think “distribute” encompass linking here.

    Hopefully the lither forms of online journals, archives and copyleft will diminish the old mammoth publishers. This incident shows one reason why it would be good.

    Still another 18 years to go before you can read work from this ‘Albert Einstein’ guy for free.

    Good argument, bad example. AE’s original papers are available at Einstein Archives Online and Einstein Papers Porject.

    The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein is one of the most ambitious publishing ventures ever undertaken in the documentation of the history of science. Selected from among more than 40,000 documents contained in the personal collection of Albert Einstein (1879-1955), and 15,000 Einstein and Einstein-related documents discovered by the editors since the beginning of the Einstein Project, The Collected Papers provide the first complete picture of a massive written legacy that ranges from Einstein’s first work on the special and general theories of relativity and the origins of quantum theory, to expressions of his profound concern with civil liberties, education, Zionism, pacifism, and disarmament.

    The series will contain over 14,000 documents and will fill twenty-five volumes. [Bold added].

    I haven’t checked, but I believe his papers from his “miracle year” has been available online for a while.

  6. #6 Torbjrn Larsson
    April 26, 2007

    the entity that owns the copyright for the work

    I don’t know if copyright ever made sense for scientific material. Science has other systems (review and slander 😉 that prohibits outright copy theft.

    Online open-access journal PLoS has an interesting copyright:

    Upon submission of an article, authors are asked to indicate their agreement to abide by an open-access license. The license permits any user to download, print out, extract, archive, and distribute the article, so long as appropriate credit is given to the authors and source of the work. The license ensures that your article will be as widely available as possible and that your article can be included in any scientific archive.

    This goes beyond PZ’s sound recommendations on replication, but I think “distribute” encompass linking here.

    Hopefully the lither forms of online journals, archives and copyleft will diminish the old mammoth publishers. This incident shows one reason why it would be good.

    Still another 18 years to go before you can read work from this ‘Albert Einstein’ guy for free.

    Good argument, bad example. AE’s original papers are available at Einstein Archives Online and Einstein Papers Porject.

    The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein is one of the most ambitious publishing ventures ever undertaken in the documentation of the history of science. Selected from among more than 40,000 documents contained in the personal collection of Albert Einstein (1879-1955), and 15,000 Einstein and Einstein-related documents discovered by the editors since the beginning of the Einstein Project, The Collected Papers provide the first complete picture of a massive written legacy that ranges from Einstein’s first work on the special and general theories of relativity and the origins of quantum theory, to expressions of his profound concern with civil liberties, education, Zionism, pacifism, and disarmament.

    The series will contain over 14,000 documents and will fill twenty-five volumes. [Bold added].

    I haven’t checked, but I believe his papers from his “miracle year” has been available online for a while.

  7. #7 hexatron
    April 26, 2007

    But but but but but…

    They were going to make a major motion picture based on that graph! And now, with the surprise gone, no one in Hollywood will touch it! Is that fair? Is it? (Excuse me for not typing in all caps).

  8. #8 Mike Crichton
    April 26, 2007

    BAH! IMO, we should do away with the notion of “Intellectual property” entirely, and replace it with “intellectual services” instead. Copyrights and patents would be seen as a temporary legal monopoly on providing those services, so you’d have the same basic legal framework, the copyright and patent holders would still profit, but the metaphor changes, and we can do away with the idiotic notion that intangible information can be “owned”.

  9. #9 dynaboy
    April 26, 2007

    PZ said:

    [S]cientific information should be freely and widely disseminated, anything else is antithetical to the advancement of science.

    Although I’m usually a PZ Myers sycophant, I can’t agree with the good professor on this. Whether scientific (or any other) information should be freely and widely disseminated is a matter for the creator of that information. It shouldn’t be decided by the “scientific community” or even high quality science bloggers.

    In fact, this is exactly what the framers thought when they included the included the Intellectual Property Clause into the Constitution:

    The Congress shall have the power to … promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.

    (emphasis added)

    This whole flare-up, to me, appears to be much ado about nothing. Keep in mind that the publishing company employees are probably sending out a form letter to any possible infringer and may lack the legal training to differentiate reasonable examples of fair use.

  10. #10 coturnix
    April 26, 2007

    Yes, authors and inventors. Not Elsevier.

    And you are always free not to publish anything if you want to keep your data a secret from the rest of the world.

  11. #11 dynaboy
    April 26, 2007

    Yes, authors and inventors. Not Elsevier.

    The authors of the study were not forced to publish their study using Elsevier or any other publisher. It was their choice, likely because they thought a professional publisher would create some nice looking graphs and get their study out to those who were the most interested in it.

    If the authors of the study wanted to publish it themselves, they could have tossed it up on the Internet or ran off copies and dropped them in to the mail themselves. But they didn’t. So don’t blame a publisher for expending money to create graphics, typeset the article, print and bind the journal, and pay for postage, and then expect not to get paid in return.

  12. #12 Christian Burnham
    April 27, 2007

    dynaboy: Spoken like a true libertarian!

    But, isn’t there such a thing as a social responsibility? Should a cancer patient really have to pony up 40 bucks for a review article regarding the medicine she takes? Should a bright 15 year old have to pay the same amount to read about the latest scientific literature? What about someone who wants to find out the facts about global warming?

    Also, scientists do most of the typesetting and figure creation themselves nowadays and the rise of the internet has pushed down distribution costs to fractions of a penny.

  13. #13 Shelley
    April 27, 2007

    Publishing costs are not absorbed by publishers. They make authors do that. Authors pay per-page fees as well as exorbitant fees for color figures, which vary by the journal. However, Abel at Terra Sigilla mentioned getting tagged for $650 fee, for just one figure.

    Oh, that those figures are usually made by the authors, not the journal. No publisher has ever made a figure, chart, or graph for me (not to say it never happens though). Want reprints, as an author (just YOUR paper, not the whole journal)? Be prepared to pay upwards of $10+ per print, and much more if you want it in color.

    Don’t forget who ultimately pays for all these fees: you the taxpayer. Research grants have portions set aside for publication costs, and universities (taxpayer supported) provide help to defray costs from absorbing too much of that grant dough.

    So, really, the people who pay for the research (taxpayers) are being told they cannot have access to the results of this support. Just saying, there’s no ‘poor publishers’ here. They’ve got a great deal, its the scientists and taxpayers who are getting the raw deal.

  14. #14 ordinarygirl
    April 27, 2007

    In this case though Shelly properly credited the authors and cited their work. She posted a summary of the work and actually tried to clear up misunderstandings in the media surrounding it. She wasn’t posting the work in its entirety or even posting much of it, only a summary. No more than any newspaper was publishing. Anyone that wanted to read the full article was forwarded on to the published work.

    I don’t see how that was taking anything away from the publisher or the authors. In fact, it was encouraging people to read the published work.

    I’m glad it ended well, but why was she seen as the criminal in the first place? I think some corporations are going too far with intellectual property rights and it’s our job to keep them in check. The rude emails aren’t good, but I’m glad the corporation did hear from people who thought their threat of lawsuit was excessive.

  15. #15 sockpuppet
    April 27, 2007

    Are Elsevier the culprits?

    If you truly want to bury any paper- publish it in an Elsevier journal. No-one will read it, your institution probably won’t have an electronic copy- or if they do, the Elsevier websites are so bad you’ll never be able to find it.

  16. #16 Azkyroth
    April 27, 2007

    One of these days, I’m hoping someone arguing that copyrights as we know them are obvious, beneficial, and inevitable will give me a good reason to take their arguments more seriously than those of people making the same arguments about divine-right monarchy. So far, I’ve been disappointed.

    What I would support in terms of copyright: the right to proper attribution forever, and exclusive right to commercial exploitation for a reasonable period (multiple human lifetimes is not “reasonable”). Additionally, software lacking content analogous to art/literature (certain story-based games, for instance) should be covered exclusively under patents, not copyrights. Also, organizations making materially false claims about copyright law to their benefit should perhaps be subject to some kind of liability…

  17. #17 Carlie
    April 27, 2007

    I think it’s perfectly reasonable to make papers subscription limited for a time – it does cost money to print them and maintain the databases, after all, and there has to be some way to recoup the costs. I don’t think everyone at Elsevier would be willing to work for free. Elsevier makes far too much, but they’re the exception. I’m thinking of society pubs like the American Journal of Botany – they’re not really making money, but they do still have to charge something to make ends meet. I like the delayed JSTOR type access – once a year has gone by, then it’s freely available. That way they can recoup costs from the libraries and people who have to have it now, but it goes into the public domain fairly quickly. That also bolsters the argument from bloggers – if they publicize new papers, that adds to the revenue stream from readers who saw the blurb about it and want it now.
    Besides,

  18. #18 Roman Werpachowski
    April 27, 2007

    Why should someone who has cancer have to pay 40 bucks to get a reprint of a paper discussing her medication?

    Yes, and what will she do with it? If I had cancer, would reading specialized medical papers make me feel better?

    Publishing costs are not absorbed by publishers. They make authors do that.

    It depends. Physical Review did not charge me for my paper.

    For those crying out loud, haven’t you guys heard about preprint servers?

  19. #19 RavenT
    April 27, 2007

    Yes, and what will she do with it? If I had cancer, would reading specialized medical papers make me feel better?

    Maybe. My friend had a particularly aggressive form of post-transplant lymphoma (cancer), about which there were only ~40 reported cases in the literature, all of whom died quickly. He (a biomedical informaticist) and his wife (a radiologist, so they were both med-info-literate) researched the literature and found that there were 2 cases of multi-year (2? 5? I forget) survival based on a different treatment regime than the standard, and brought this information to his oncologist, who happened to have just come across the same information at about the same time. Based on that, together they chose a particular chemotherapy and bone-marrow transplant treatment plan that was not the standard one (which had basically a 100% failure rate).

    It bought him a little time, not much; unfortunately, he did not become the 3rd success story in the literature. But he felt he made a fully-informed decision about his treatment options, based on the most current literature.

  20. #20 dynaboy
    April 27, 2007

    So, really, the people who pay for the research (taxpayers) are being told they cannot have access to the results of this support.

    With all due respect, that’s an over broad statement. Of course taxpayers have “access” to the paper. For instance, all you have to do is wander down to a library that carries the journal and pick it up off the shelf. (You could even wander down to the photocopier and make a full copy for a 10 cents a sheet, but don’t tell anyone…)

    The question here isn’t about access, it’s about reproduction, the very “copy right” that is vested with the author and/or his or her assignee.

    But as I said in my original post (#8), your whole issue got overblown, probably due to an overzealous clerk. It appears you were well within your fair use rights to copy portions of the article for the purpose of critical comment. Obviously, once a competent individual from the publisher stepped in, everything was a-OK.

    Personally, I believe the whole paper journal method of distributing scientific research is an outdated relic. I don’t see any reason why peer review and publication can’t be done via the Internet. But it’s not up to me to force this change, it’s up to the scientists.

  21. #21 RavenT
    April 27, 2007

    Of course taxpayers have “access” to the paper. For instance, all you have to do is wander down to a library that carries the journal and pick it up off the shelf. (You could even wander down to the photocopier and make a full copy for a 10 cents a sheet, but don’t tell anyone…)

    You vastly overestimate the probability of the local library carrying a specialized journal. The Seattle Public Library, for example, does not carry Oncogene or Bacteriological Reviews. For such journals, you need access to a specialized medical library, and even if one is in “wandering down” distance, not every one permits access to their resources to the public.

  22. #22 Rupert
    April 27, 2007

    As a journalist, it is extremely frustrating to have so many papers behind paywalls. There is no way whatsover that I or my publication could pay for access to all the journals, nor even for the per-paper costs which I’d run up when researching just one article. Most researchers are happy to send me copies via email when I ask, although I’m never sure of the legitimacy of that, but finding the researchers, sending the email, waiting for the timezones to waft past and getting the response is a huge delay – especially when everyone else has got the story up, and you may well want to dig further depending on what you find out. Something that should take five minutes takes a day.

    As so much mainstream science reporting suffers from a lack of context, this is actively harmful.

    R

  23. #23 dynaboy
    April 27, 2007

    Christian Burnham wrote:

    dynaboy: Spoken like a true
    libertarian!

    I take that as a compliment. I think…

    But, isn’t there such a thing as a social responsibility? Should a cancer patient really have to pony up 40 bucks for a review article regarding the medicine she takes? Should a bright 15 year old have to pay the same amount to read about the latest scientific literature? What about someone who wants to find out the facts about global warming?

    Sure there’s a thing as social responsibility. But shouldn’t this responsibility rest on the shoulders of the scientist who willingly publishes his work in a journal that charges $40 for a copy? I can’t force the the scientist to do the “socially responsible” thing of posting his work on the Internet for all can view free of charge…

  24. #24 dynaboy
    April 27, 2007

    You vastly overestimate the probability of the local library carrying a specialized journal. The Seattle Public Library, for example, does not carry Oncogene or Bacteriological Reviews.

    I never asserted that a local library would carry a specialized journal. While you may be correct that the Seattle Public Library does not carry Oncogene, the nearby University of Washington library does.

  25. #25 A guest
    April 27, 2007

    All major public libraries and many minor public libraries have an interlibrary loan service that will obtain articles from other libraries. Most do not charge the requester except in extreme circumstances.

  26. #26 Pete Dunkelberg
    April 27, 2007

    It was nice of Wiley to grant permission for a limited degree fair use, as if it were their choice.

  27. #27 Captain C
    April 27, 2007

    Back when I was in library school, I came across SPARC (The Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition). From their About page:

    What is SPARC?

    SPARC , the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, is an international alliance of academic and research libraries working to correct imbalances in the scholarly publishing system. Developed by the Association of Research Libraries, SPARC has become a catalyst for change. Its pragmatic focus is to stimulate the emergence of new scholarly communication models that expand the dissemination of scholarly research and reduce financial pressures on libraries. Action by SPARC in collaboration with stakeholders – including authors, publishers, and libraries – builds on the unprecedented opportunities created by the networked digital environment to advance the conduct of scholarship. Leading academic organizations have endorsed SPARC.

    What Does SPARC Do?
    SPARC’s role in stimulating change focuses on:

    Educating stakeholders about the problems facing scholarly communication and the opportunities for change;
    Advocating policy changes that advance the potential of technology to advance scholarly communication and that explicitly recognize that dissemination is an essential, inseparable component of the research process;
    Incubating real-world demonstrations of business and publishing models that advance changes benefiting scholarship and academe.
    Since its launch in June 1998, the SPARC coalition, served by the SPARC staff and subject to the fiscal oversight and controls of ARL, has advanced this agenda by:

    demonstrating that new journals can successfully compete for authors and quickly establish quality;

    effectively driving down the cost of journals;

    creating an environment in which editors and editorial board members claim more prominent roles in the business aspects of their journals;

    stimulating the development of increased publishing capacity in the not-for-profit sector and encouraging new players to enter the market;

    providing help and guidance to scientists and librarians interested in creating change;

    carrying the methods and message of change to international stakeholders.

    Lots of academics are and have been getting very annoyed at the crooked-record-company-like tactics that publishers have been using with science journals (since they have to publish, and their libraries have to buy, the publishers often set really obnoxious terms, as amply noted above).

    One example of a SPARC project (done in collaboration with a University of Arizona professor, though it now seems to be supported by the University of Wisconsin) is the Journal of Insect Science, which started as an online publication and now seems to have a print edition, as well.

    From their about page:

    About the Journal of Insect Science
    The Journal of Insect Science publishes papers in all aspects of the biology of insects and other arthropods from the molecular to the ecological. The Journal is published on the World Wide Web by the University of Wisconsin Libraries. Our guiding principle is that academic institutions should be involved in publishing scholarly work with as few impediments as possible to free access to information. Read more about this in the Editor’s Call for Change in Academic Publishing.

    The Journal of Insect Science is supported by the University of Wisconsin Libraries and is freely available to individuals and institutions. It provides an alternative to excessively priced commercial publications in insect biology. It is the vehicle of choice for the publication of high-quality, rigorously refereed reports on the biology of insects and other arthropods.

    The Journal of Insect Science has an international scope with a broad constituency of scientists interested in the biology of insects and their agricultural and medical impact. The Journal has an Advisory Board that provided advice as the journal was established. Members of the Editorial Board assist the Editor in choice of reviewers, and resolving disputes about manuscripts The Journal of Insect Science uses the Creative Commons Attribution License for copyright. The University of Wisconsin Libraries will maintain the journal in their archives.

    The on-line format makes inclusion of color figures, videos and sound possible at no cost to the author. Large data sets, statistical analyses and computerized sequence analyses can be attached to papers. Demonstration of online capabilities.

    The Journal of Insect Science will offer links to the homepages of individual scholars in the field (“Scholar??s Homepages”). Published papers are included in PubMed Central and BioOne, which will guarantee wide visibility for your paper and provide reference links to full text articles. JIS is indexed by ISI, Index Medicus, Current Contents, CSA, CAB, CAS, Biosis, and Academic Info, and Agricola. It will appear in Medline. A description of these indexing services is found at “Scientific Resources that include JIS”. The Journal of Insect Science is a “Leading Edge” Partner of SPARC (The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), which is an association of 180 academic libraries dedicated to encouraging alternatives to commercial publishing of academic work.

    We welcome your comments or suggestions. Please e-mail us at JIS@insectscience.org.

    They have a good section on the problems with academic publishing, including A Call For Change in Academic Publishing

    A Call for Change in Academic Publishing
    Open Letter from JIS Editor Henry Hagedorn:
    I have resigned as Editor of Archives to start an online journal for insect biology produced in collaboration with the Library of The University of Arizona. The new journal has the potential to change the way we share information in our discipline. Below you will find a detailed explanation of my motivation for starting the new journal and some details of the journal as well.

    I resigned because I strongly feel that commercial publishers are ripping academic scholars off. By being an editor for Archives I was an accomplice to highway robbery. Archives was started by Allen Press in 1986 at a cost of $250 to institutions. In a few years the journal published about 65 papers each year. The price started to increase when the journal was acquired by Wiley-Liss in 1990. By 1996 an institutional subscription was over $1000 and today it is $2000. Yet, with a few exceptions, the journal continued to publish only about 65 papers a year!

    Why has Archives increased the cost of an institutional subscription by nearly an order of magnitude since 1986 without an equivalent increase in the number of papers published? Based on a 60% increase in the consumer price index since 1986 one might have expected the cost of an institutional subscription to increase from $250 to $400, not $2,000. Making some assumptions about the cost of publishing and income generated from subscriptions, I suspect that Wiley-Liss is making a profit of about $500,000 per year on this rather small journal. What is the real cost to society of the scientific work published in this journal? About $2 million in grant costs and salaries per year, borne mainly by granting agencies and research institutions.

    The price increase for Archives is not an isolated case. Institutional subscription prices increased for all three of the major journals publishing work in insect physiology and biochemistry (Archives, Journal of Insect Physiology and Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology). The total cost to our libraries for these three journals is now $5260, while in 1990 they cost $1565. The number of papers published annually by all three journals has nevertheless remained roughly constant at 300 papers for the last 10 years.

    In the last 10 years our library at the University of Arizona has cancelled many journal subscriptions because of price increases such as those shown above. I know that many other academic libraries are in the same situation. As a result our libraries no longer have the journals we rely on.

    The Faustian bargain: your copyright for tenure
    Beyond the issue of cost, the commercial journals have also subverted the basic concept that is essential to academic communication; free access. Since Gutenberg, academic publishing has been tied to paper, and that tied us to an expensive method for the dissemination of our work. In the previous century this evolved into a lucrative commercial operation. Authors were obliged to trade the copyright to their work to ensure its publication so they could get tenure. It was a particularly insidious bargain because it allowed market forces to distort the basic drive of academia to disseminate ideas and encourage discussion. Forcing readers to pay dearly for the right to read our work is the last thing we want; free dissemination should be the long-term goal. I think the goal is attainable.

    The electronic journal could free us from the market forces that distort the contract academic institutions have with society. Electronic journals cost much less to publish than print journals, reprints can be made available free by providing PDF files, and archiving can be achieved electronically at low cost. They also provide options such as full text searchability unavailable in print formats. I will argue below that the expertise we need to achieve this is available within our libraries. By joining forces with our libraries we can regain control of academic publishing.

    However, going electronic will not necessarily allow us to break the Faustian bargain. Indeed, the commercial publishers have been increasing online access to their journals, for subscribers only of course, and at an even higher price. The academic community created the web for academic purposes and we are on the verge of losing it to those who want to use it to make a profit from academic journals. We must keep the academic portion of the web open and free. I believe that universities should be at the forefront in achieving this goal by publishing academic journals.

    Sorry this got so long, but there was lot to cover, even as an introduction.

  28. #28 Captain C
    April 27, 2007

    I can’t force the the scientist to do the “socially responsible” thing of posting his work on the Internet for all can view free of charge…

    Unfortunately, for tenure purposes, most professors must publish in expensive, peer-reviewed journals.

  29. #29 David Marjanovi?
    April 27, 2007

    However, Abel at Terra Sigilla mentioned getting tagged for $650 fee, for just one figure.

    We just paid 900 $ for a color figure in Systematic Biology.

    dynaboy: Spoken like a true libertarian!

    Maybe, maybe not. Spoken like one who has never tried to publish a scientific article.

    If you truly want to bury any paper- publish it in an Elsevier journal. No-one will read it, your institution probably won’t have an electronic copy- or if they do, the Elsevier websites are so bad you’ll never be able to find it.

    The universities I know have online subscriptions to most Elsevier journals, and I’ve downloaded lots of papers that way. Where is “your institution”?

    Now, if you want to bury a paper, publish it in any language other than English in the in-house publication of some small local museum. Even the publications of medium-sized regional US museums can be quite hard to get.

    For those crying out loud, haven’t you guys heard about preprint servers?

    Heard we have. There simply is no preprint server in biology.

    I don’t see any reason why peer review and publication can’t be done via the Internet.

    Indeed it can be. http://palaeo-electronica.org

    The Faustian bargain: your copyright for tenure

    Very well said.

  30. #30 David Marjanovi?
    April 27, 2007

    However, Abel at Terra Sigilla mentioned getting tagged for $650 fee, for just one figure.

    We just paid 900 $ for a color figure in Systematic Biology.

    dynaboy: Spoken like a true libertarian!

    Maybe, maybe not. Spoken like one who has never tried to publish a scientific article.

    If you truly want to bury any paper- publish it in an Elsevier journal. No-one will read it, your institution probably won’t have an electronic copy- or if they do, the Elsevier websites are so bad you’ll never be able to find it.

    The universities I know have online subscriptions to most Elsevier journals, and I’ve downloaded lots of papers that way. Where is “your institution”?

    Now, if you want to bury a paper, publish it in any language other than English in the in-house publication of some small local museum. Even the publications of medium-sized regional US museums can be quite hard to get.

    For those crying out loud, haven’t you guys heard about preprint servers?

    Heard we have. There simply is no preprint server in biology.

    I don’t see any reason why peer review and publication can’t be done via the Internet.

    Indeed it can be. http://palaeo-electronica.org

    The Faustian bargain: your copyright for tenure

    Very well said.

  31. #31 RavenT
    April 27, 2007

    I never asserted that a local library would carry a specialized journal.

    Then we read the following very differently:

    “all you have to do is wander down to a library that carries the journal and pick it up off the shelf”

    I’m not sure how a taxpayer in the rural Midwest finds a library with those journals “on the shelf” to “wander down to” and read about research her tax dollars pay for. You must be including “take a plane to a city with a reasonable medical library” as part of “wander”, and “register for access privileges” as part of “shelf”.

  32. #32 Aaron Denney
    April 27, 2007

    Additionally, software lacking content analogous to art/literature (certain story-based games, for instance) should be covered exclusively under patents, not copyrights.

    I was with you up until that point. Patents cover functionality, so writing a program that does the same thing as another program would become forbidden. That is simply unacceptable.

    Copyright isn’t actually a bad fit for software, it’s just that the current copyright system is bad for everything.

  33. #33 Aaron Denney
    April 28, 2007

    Heard we have. There simply is no preprint server in biology.

    There wasn’t one in physics either until the physicists sat down and made one.

    And the arxiv does have a “quantitative biology” section at http://arxiv.org/archive/q-bio

    While that’s not going to cover all of biology, there is a small bit of coverage.

  34. #34 Roman Werpachowski
    May 1, 2007

    Captain C: “Unfortunately, for tenure purposes, most professors must publish in expensive, peer-reviewed journals.”

    But they still can publish the same results on the net. I do.

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