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Prostituting Knowledge Options
Epiphileon
Posted: Tuesday, June 12, 2012 4:22:59 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/22/2009
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Prostituting Knowledge9well sort of, but I'm to heated to think of a better phrase at the moment)
Leaping leptons, and fusing carbon! Twenty freaking dollars to read a research paper! Sometimes I really hate, despise, have ultimate contempt for, capitalism. Professional journals have to be one of the biggest rackets there is. Crap on a crutch! It's not like they're paying royalties to the authors! The ongoing drive to make academia a for profit endeavor for the benefit of investors, rather than for the benefit of academia is a woeful path.
Rant...rant...rant...rant.......
thar
Posted: Tuesday, June 12, 2012 4:32:53 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/8/2010
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now everything is electronic, the production costs go way down, and open-access journals are growing in number and stature. Time will come only a few top journals will be able to charge at all!

but to access old papers, jep, that is still going to cost you!

not that some of the stuff in open access journals isn't strange, decided dubious stuff!

on the other hand, you could think yourself lucky, you could be buying textbooks. Now that is capitalism at work!!
Ms. B. Have
Posted: Tuesday, June 12, 2012 5:03:39 PM
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Joined: 4/6/2012
Posts: 355
Neurons: 686

Knowledge is priceless, and there is still such thing as copyright.


boneyfriend
Posted: Tuesday, June 12, 2012 6:37:21 PM

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Joined: 8/3/2009
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Location: Columbia, South Carolina, United States
not to grab the thread but I want to take a course at the intown university in my town this fall. I can take it for free because I am a senior citizen. But the books for this course on North American Indians are over $700. (4 books). I could take it and not get the books but I want the books. Oh me. Back to the drive to make academia a profit making institution.
Wordscrafter
Posted: Wednesday, June 13, 2012 3:41:20 AM
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Joined: 7/2/2011
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Location: Paris, Ile-de-France, France
I have to add my voice to Ms B.Have: expert knowledge has a value, whatever this value is; it takes time, effort, intelligence, also money to gather it. In any formn we have to pay a price for it. Free knowledge still comes at some price (uncertainty about value, structure, freshness, bias, apropos, etc...). And copyright is there to remember us that behind every creation there is a person who took some time to create; a just retribution seems morally fair.
jacobusmaximus
Posted: Wednesday, June 13, 2012 3:52:03 AM

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Joined: 4/17/2009
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Location: Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom
Wordscrafter wrote:
I have to add my voice to Ms B.Have: expert knowledge has a value, whatever this value is; it takes time, effort, intelligence, also money to gather it. In any formn we have to pay a price for it. Free knowledge still comes at some price (uncertainty about value, structure, freshness, bias, apropos, etc...). And copyright is there to remember us that behind every creation there is a person who took some time to create; a just retribution seems morally fair.


A good point, but I sometimes wonder how much (or how little) actually goes to the creator of the work and how much is creamed off by publishers and retailers.
Epiphileon
Posted: Wednesday, June 13, 2012 4:50:03 AM

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Joined: 3/22/2009
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We are talking about journals here, which have nothing to do with funding the research, or paying the researchers, much of the research that is published has been funded by a grant of some sort, many times by government grants, i.e. tax revenue. A very large portion of the work is done by graduate students. The money I'm talking about is going strictly to the publishers.
This is just one symptom of the escalating problem of treating academia as a business, resulting in skyrocketing costs, and fewer people being able to pursue vital careers in the sciences.
GabhSigenod
Posted: Wednesday, June 13, 2012 7:02:55 AM

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Location: Mulroog, Connaught, Ireland
Not the most efficient method of chasing the Euro.
RuthP
Posted: Wednesday, June 13, 2012 6:40:51 PM

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Location: Drain, Oregon, United States
I feel your pain, Epi. Cost per article in medical journal usually runs $30 and up for twenty-four hours of online access. While some journals make original research articles openly available online, other articles and commentary are not and many journals are closed. Some journals open access after a period of time, but many of the biggest publishers do not.

Knowledge is priceless: that's why it is inappropriate to lock it away and make it available only to the well-heeled.
Inability to pay for subscriptions/access to professional journals is a serious problem for researchers and physicians in second- and third-world countries. In some cases, not even institutions or the government can afford to subscribe.

In the case of physicians, this affects the ability of physicians to keep up with knowledge which could change the way they practice, change the treatment of patients.

In the case of researchers, they cannot know whether the avenue they are investigating has already proven fruitless or if there is a better, more effective, less expensive methodology than they are using.

Yes, the journal publishers wish to sell subscriptions and make their money. OK. But the idea that published research should be inaccessible a year after publication (let alone five, ten, or in perpetuity) is ridiculous! It is the exact opposite of the open exchange of ideas; it is contrary to science; it is obscene.

Results paid for by public grant money -- even in part -- or results used to request approval for pharmaceuticals, devices, food additives should be public from the get-go. In the case of drug, device, additive approval, not only published results but complete data (from all trials, not just the 'successful' ones) should be publicly available, immediately!
Kikker
Posted: Wednesday, June 13, 2012 7:03:38 PM
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“A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. So is a lot.”

Albert Einstein

Epiphileon
Posted: Wednesday, June 13, 2012 8:30:08 PM

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Thank you so much Ruth for clearly elucidating some of the major points of the argument, clearly I was in the throes of an over the top emotional response.
Ms. B. Have
Posted: Thursday, June 14, 2012 1:05:58 AM
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Joined: 4/6/2012
Posts: 355
Neurons: 686
Some years ago it could take me a whole day to go to the right library and find the books or magazines with the information I needed. Now I Google or Wiki and within half an hour I have the information I need, or I buy the book I need online for € 7,84 and within a few days it's delivered at my home. The research papers you have to pay for online often can be read for free in a university library, as we always had to do before the web was worldwide. You do not pay for the knowledge, but the luxury to load it down on your homecomputer.

We are progressing

Epiphileon
Posted: Thursday, June 14, 2012 5:48:20 AM

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Joined: 3/22/2009
Posts: 4,287
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Wow, I must say, that was stunning.
Jean_extraterre
Posted: Thursday, June 14, 2012 12:06:40 PM
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Location: exoplanet Gliese 876 d

"Knowledge is priceless: that's why it is inappropriate to lock it away and make it available only to the well-heeled."


In contrast to this assertion and what some previous postings claim, knowledge is free.

(i) As a rule, the email address of the authors (or the corresponding author) is displayed in the journal (some journals, e.g. Nature Medicine, provide forms to contact the authors); if no email address is given, usually it is a matter of two minutes to find the electronic coordinates of the authors by a search engine. When asked by email, every author will be happy to provide an electronic (or even hardcopy) reprint (or preprint) of his/her work. Some publishers even provide authors with corresponding PDF files to distribute them this way or to display them on their homepages. I frequently get demands from colleagues (not only from developing countries) for articles (also old ones, published more than a decade ago) to which they have no access (because the respective journal isn't available to them), and I never failed to provide the requested material (and always received articles that I had asked for).

(ii) Nowadays, the majority of papers in natural science is uploaded to preprint servers (e.g., the arXiv.org e-print archive) before publication in a journal, and they remain there for a free download also after the publication.

Of course, it would be much more convenient to download a dozen papers just by pressing a button instead of having to write twelve emails. But everyone who is really interested in a specific scientific paper has possibilities to get it without paying for it. Actually, the situation today is much better than two or three decades ago. E.g., at the ICTP (International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Italy, an institution that focuses upon inviting scientists from the Third World for some weeks to profit from a "First World" working environment), in the pre-electronic publishing area there always were long lines in front of the copy machines of the ICPT library, so that the copying time per visitor had to be restricted to 20-30 minutes a day. Nonetheless, at the end of their visit, most scientists had collected so much papers that they couldn't carry them in their luggage; whence, the ICTP also paid for mailing a certain amount of printed matter to the home countries of the visitors. Nowadays, there is almost no copying anymore at the ICTP libraries because it is much easier to acquire the material via electronic channels.
leonAzul
Posted: Thursday, June 14, 2012 12:19:58 PM

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Joined: 8/11/2011
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Location: Miami, Florida, United States
thar wrote:
now everything is electronic, the production costs go way down, and open-access journals are growing in number and stature. Time will come only a few top journals will be able to charge at all!

but to access old papers, jep, that is still going to cost you!

not that some of the stuff in open access journals isn't strange, decided dubious stuff!

on the other hand, you could think yourself lucky, you could be buying textbooks. Now that is capitalism at work!!


This also reveals that the greatest cost of publication is not the physical media but rather the editorial process itself. Producing quality papers requires a great deal of time and expertise in the form of expert reviewers. This is, or ought to be, why peer-reviewed publications have any monetary value at all.

There are, in fact, a number of online repositories where rough drafts and works in progress are archived. The arXiv.org repository hosted by Cornell University Library is arguably one of the best known of these. They recently formalized a tiered subscription plan that puts a premium on the most current research documents and effectively releases older documents more than a few years old to the equivalent of public domain, with respect to royalties for fair use at least. There have been other attempts to create journals on similar models as well.

What is truly alarming is the emergence of "consortiums" of so-called peers of "scientists" who on closer examination are little more than a cabal of mutually disaffected cracked-pots who have colluded to publicly support each other. This seriously dilutes the value of well-earned reputations for carefully reviewing and editing legitimate research by the traditional journals and threatens to make a travesty of the peer-review process itself.
Epiphileon
Posted: Thursday, June 14, 2012 1:08:23 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/22/2009
Posts: 4,287
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Thank you Jean, and Leon, I will certainly try these avenues.
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