Is the future of scientific publishing in-house open access?

WeirdFuture
Photo from flickr user Tom Marxchivist, 1952 cover by Basil Wolverton, used under CC attribution license.

Those of you that frequent theScinder know that I am pretty passionate about how science is disseminated, and you have probably noticed that, like their brethren in newsprint and magazine before them, the big-name publishers don’t know exactly how to react to a changing future, and despite what traditional publishers would have you believe, they are not immune to publishing tripe.

Nature may be butting heads with Duke University over requesting waivers for the open access policy in place there. Apparently the waiver request isn’t even necessarily based on the practical implementation of Duke’s open access policy (Nature allows articles to be made freely available in their final version 6 months after publication), but it does raise the question: how much hassle will universities and their faculty put up with before they take matters into their own hands? As MIT’s Samuel Gershman points out, modern publishing doesn’t cost all that much. Even the fairly exorbitant fees charged to authors by the “gold standard” of open access publishers may be a transient relic of the conventional (turning archaic?) publishing business model. This provides incentive for predatory publishing (as discussed in this article at The Scientist and the basis for the Bohannon article published in Science last October) But if peer review and editing is largely volunteer labour, performed as an essential component of the role of a researcher and with the bill largely footed as a public expenditure, why keep paying enormous subscription fees for traditional publishing? If the trend catches on, as it almost certainly will, leading institutions will continue to adopt open access policies and libraries will see less and less reason to keep paying for outdated subscriptions.

Relevant links:

Scholarly Publishing: Where is Plan B?

California univerisity system consider boycotting Nature Publishing Group

Samuel Gershman’s ideal publishing model, the Journal of Machine Learning Research

Computer algorithm has more papers than you do!

UnclesamStopPubFakePapers

Oh man, oh man.

Via Retraction Watch, I just learned that Cyril Labbé of Joseph Fourier University has found more than 120 published fake papers written by the algorithm known as SCIgen. That’s >100 by IEEE and 16 by Springer according to the nature article by Richard Van Noorden.These are mostly conferenced proceedings-but they’re purportedly peer reviewed.

You can make your own fake paper too. Here’s ours: Geld: A Methodology for the Improvement of Scatter/Gather I/O

Remember when John Bohannon wrote a somewhat misleading attack on the open access publishing model in Science? It seems traditional publishing has their own misgivings about peer review.

From Van Noorden’s report:

Labbé says that the latest discovery is merely one symptom of a “spamming war started at the heart of science” in which researchers feel pressured to rush out papers to publish as much as possible.

Indeed.

Related links
Ike Antkare one of the great stars in the scientific firmament

Uncle Sam poster modified from Wikipedia source.