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Touring Britain bit by bit with a pair of boots, a few bicycles, a lot of trains and a bag of lenses. I take pictures and then I write about them.

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What is the scientific paper? 2: What's wrong?

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[Edit] Edit | [Delete] Delete | [History] History | [Version] Last edited by Joe D, 2010-08-30 22:46:41 | [Views] Viewed 183189 times


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Theo Bloom

Very interesting stuff - thanks for a great read. I think you allude to something that I see as more of a problem than journals, though: the intermingling of credit - for work done, funding spent, and so on - with the means of dissemination. If we could separate giving academics and funders credit for what they do, on the one hand, from the vehicle of disseminating their results, on the other, then journals could revert to having important functions like community-building, discussion forums, technology development and so on. Until then, academics will still need papers and journals as the units by which credit is granted and accounted for - which is not what they are meant for or best at.

Posted at 2009-09-15 19:47:35 - [Ban] - [Del]

Steve Hitchcock

Joe, The solution is open access, access for all to the published results and outputs from research. You don't mention access. Yes, you refer to open access journals such as PLoS, and the open access repository arXiv, but do not use the word access. You note to the need to speed up dissemination, but do not mention access. Access: the word is key to this analysis. The Web provides the opportunity for open access. That is what is new. Everything else will follow from that.

Posted at 2009-09-17 09:29:42 - [Ban] - [Del]

Joe D

{{{flag}}} Earth

Thanks. Indeed, I do not mention access. The reason being that we had that discussion two years ago, and so far as I'm concerned, it's over! It's decided. Some publishers have yet to catch up, and are liable to suffer as a result, but in terms of actually discussing it, the case has already been made.

It didn't even occur to me at this time to mention that access was a problem with the scientific paper: everybody already knows that it is! Not only are we familiar with the problem, but we already have the solution (albeit, not yet implemented across the board).

Posted at 2009-09-17 10:10:49 - [Del]

Steve Hitchcock

Joe, I admire you optimism, and wish open access was a solved problem and over, but the numbers suggest otherwise. Estimates are that over 80% of published research papers are not open access. That means a lot authors of these papers do not yet get open access. The problem is not journal publishers, but raising awareness among authors. You say 'we' had that discussion two years ago, but who are 'we'? I suspect your blog has a chance to reach a wider audience than that. For that wider audience, open access is not yet solved. It follows that the problem with the scientific paper is not the journal, but one step before that, with the authors. It is within their grasp to provide open access to their papers, and the solutions are in place, as you say. Most are not doing so yet.

Posted at 2009-09-17 11:07:22 - [Ban] - [Del]

Browse...
My other blog is a...
  • Science blog! A blog about cancer cell and molecular biology, coming soon...
  • Skepticism blog! I contribute to the group blog Lay Science on the nature of science, skepticism, and bad arguments.
  • Science publishing blog! It's called Journalology and it's a group blog about publishers, journals, papers and data.
  • Fiction blog! Where I make stuff up, coming soon...
  • Cycling and transport policy blog! I run the group blog At War With The Motorist, where we look at evidence-based urban planning and transport policy, and ride bikes.

Follow them all here.

Find me here...

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