The boycott Elsevier movement

Many of you have asked me about this recent movement.  A few points:

1. I largely agree with the goals and views of the perpetrators.

2. If I never published again in an Elsevier journal, it would not hurt my career (I have been tenured for twenty-six years).  It would be a cheap endorsement for me personally.

3. In the past my career has benefited from publishing in Elsevier journals.  They have provided useful outlets for some of my pieces and for some of the pieces of my friends and colleagues.  Although I would prefer to move to a new and more open publishing model, I do count this past relationship for something.

4. In the future I likely will wish to help my students publish, including in Elsevier journals.

5. If I were to pick three boycotts to see through, would this be one of them?

My current conclusion is that I should not join this boycott in any formal sense, again while expressing support for the final vision.  I do contribute to the open science idea in a number of ways, including through this blog.

In my forthcoming An Economist Gets Lunch: New Rules for Everyday Foodies you will find a more extensive discussion of the economics and ethics of boycotts.

Addendum: Via Claire Morgan, here is an interesting discussion of metrics for on-line influence.

Comments

As much as I hate the way Elsevier does business, I sure wouldn't boycott them because I need to publish. Even though I have never been published by Elsevier, I can't turn that Possibility down. As to boycotting their publications, that too is impossible as I use Elsevier published papers comstantly in my work. Some very important papers in my field have been published by them and what am I supposed to do not cite them?

I don't think the answer is boycotting them, I think the answer is to provide alternate avenues for publishing that do not charge such extortionist rents and restrict knowledge as much. Honestly if I could publish anywhere it would be in the most widely disseminated journals that had the least barrier to other scientists, and heck lay readers as well, seeing them. I just don't see why all this has to be done in such an expensive way. It is not like I am payed to peer review.

Roy, your comment hits on the easiest way to "boycott" -- refuse to do reviews for Elsevier journals. Their quality will decline quickly, and people will naturally cease to submit to or purchase their journals.

If he does that he probably loses the opportunity to publish, which is fear #1.

Bingo

I doubt an editor would refuse to publish your article because you didn't referee for him. For years I have refused to referee for Elsevier and other high-cost journals unless they paid me or the article was one that interested me anyway. I am quite willing to submit to them, though they make themselves less attractive by their copyright policy.
Editors are very busy people who want to publish good articles. I doubt they remember who refuses to referee--- it happens too often. Junior people are irrationally afraid not to, but senior people aren't. And editors aren't going to trade the tiny emotional satisfaction of getting revenge on a non-referee for the loss of an article that would lend lustre to their journal.

Eric, statutory damages, like civil fines and liquidated damage clauses are not at all uncommon, and are used more to deter than compensate, and when they are used to compensate are used to deal with the problem of the high cost of proof making the IP right worthless.

There is no overlap between the journals that I've published in and those that I've reviewed for. Granted, I'm pretty early in my career, and I've always published with more senior authors.

Still, it never occurred to me that I would suffer for refusing to review; I view it totally as community service with only the slightest personal benefit (aside from getting early access to publications). I've had to turn down more than one review request simply because I did not have the time (e.g. moving to a new job). I've also reviewed papers for journals that are so obscure that I hope that I will never have to publish in them. I suspect that once I have a few more publications to my name, I'll have more review requests than I can reasonably satisfy, and I'll have to refuse a number of them anyway -- they might as well be Elsevier's.

I do find it interesting that the boycott centers so much on publishing, refereeing, and editing. Why not an effort to get libraries to stop buying Elsevier journals?

In math, this has been going on for a while. The arXiv is one of the big (and fairly successful) ways around this. The best solution is to offer a competing solution. (Interesting things happen on Math Overflow as well.)

You're a moderate: an untrusted ally and an unfeared enemy.

Academics are just like politicians.

If you are not with us, you are against us

I like that. I'm going to use it.

I'm wondering who was being quoted, and the only Google hits on "untrusted ally and an unfeared enemy" are this blog entry and a paid ad for Ally Bank. I was thinking Lenin.

How do they manage to index a comment within an hour of it being made? There must be literally hundreds of thousands of blogs; do the crawlers crawl them all with a minute-by-minute resolution? Or does Wordpress ping them each time we comment.

I'm curious how they manage this but it is indeed impressive.

my guess would be that they have a large number of very basic and quick robots pointed at likely to be updated pages. With less frequent spiders pointed at pages that were unchanged in say 2-3 crawls. The dynamic internet is far smaller than the fairly static internet (and the dynamic internet relevant to a top page google search I'd expect isn't all that large relative to a google data center).

If I were Ally Bank, I'd be less impressed with a search hit on "untrusted ally".

bluto is mostly correct. Google has spiders everywhere they have hosts, which is most everywhere in the Western world. And if site administrations are doing their jobs correctly, it is very simple for Google to find updated and new content. The complexity happens when the spiders then share the data with the rest of Google, and therefore your search attempt. There lives the wizardry of a cutting edge distributed data system.

Google definitely checks high trafficked corners of the web more often, but whether by human or algorithmic choice, this appears to be one of them.

In no particular order:

1. Elsevier's (and other scientific publishers) have a standard author agreement which allows for free publication on repository sites hosted by the author's institution

2. That same author agreement alos allows the author publication rites on his or her own web site. Some publishers even provide support (to the expent of offering to keyword and post artucles for authors on these sites)

3. The publishing process is not free - just a brief look at the editorial systems tells you this (managing peer review, editing articles, proof-reading, type setting) before we get to the consideration of other publishing benefits such as protection from plagarism (lawyers are pricey)

4. The cost of access to published science has fallen enormously since the mid-1990s. More to the point, no serious researcher or academic does not have "free" access to published research in their field - why should public funds (for it will be those funds) be expended on giving that same access to those people who don't need it?

5. The current article cost of publication through open access is around $3000 - this may fall through volume but only marginally. Bear in mind that for the cost of ten such articles, you can have the entire Emerald portfolio via a searchable database. Any purchase of an individual journal title at full cost in hard copy is essentially academic vanity

6. The big repository sites and so-called "free" sites are reliant on subsidy - so Joe Taxpayer is funding that free access at an opportunity cost. Some have been sustained through institutional and foundation support but this simply isn't sustainable

7. Any informed and active academic author can publish in free-to-view environments - the problem is author laziness rather that publisher prevention

The academic publishing business may be worthy of challenge but right now none of the supposedly "free" alternatives are sustainable. Unless, of course, authors think that getting their institutions to cough up $3000 dollars each time the publish their work (and just think how much slicing and dicing you can get from each bit of funded research) is an improvement on the existing academic publishing process.

Elsevier, as the biggest scholarly publisher, are taking the hit here because of their size and the fact that they are an unavowedly for-profit institution. Sadly, the boycotting academics do not offer researchers a better model for publishing merely a more expensive, less reliable and, ultimately, state-controlled system.

They are wrong.

re #3, you are seriously claiming we need expensive copyright licensing in order to pay for lawyers to defend the expensive copyright licensing?

i wish i had been paid for time spent reviewing journal articles!

Simon Cooke:

I'm not in academia, so feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, but as I understand it:

As you state in #4, academics and researchers get "free" access to journals in their field through their institutions.
In numbers 5 & 6, you complain that open access actually costs money, and would have to be subsidized by "Joe Taxpayer".

But isn't the researchers' "free" access today paid for by exactly the same institutions that would have to subsidize open access? So, to the extent "Joe Taxpayer" would have to pay for open access in the future, he's paying that money to Elsevier and other publishers today.

What am I missing in your argument?

What's your source for that $3000 figure? I'm very skeptical each article arxiv hosts, costs them $3000.

Maybe I misunderstand what you mean.

I'm skeptical of the $3000 figure too. Remember: journals do zero style editing on economics articles. It's not clear whether they do any proofreading; at any rate, the author has to proofread too. Often, nowadays, the author has done the bulk of the typesetting but using Tex, which is a professional typesetting program. Clerical work is becoming largely computerized, and postage costs have vanished.

The publication costs for PLoS One are $1350/article. I've seen charges as high as $3k/article in open access journals, but I'm not remembering which one off the top of my head.

Nature "Gold OA" journals can run as high as $5000, leading some people to suggest that the prices are that high intentionally, to further spread the false "OA is expensive" meme. No only is PLoS ONE cheap, most OA journals don't charge anything at all. It's paid for via society dues and the like (the assumption is that the society does worthwhile things other than just publish a journal, so people join without being forced to to get the journal)

The bottom line is that access is an issue and the Research Works Act will hurt, not improve, access. Since Elsevier is the major corporate sponsor of the bill, they're deserving of a boycott. It's just that simple. If you don't feel you can participate, you can help other ways, like encouraging the journal board to resign or switch to another publisher, or just add a special section to your CV where you highlight your open access publications, datasets you've released under an open license, code you've released as open source, etc. It's all important and everyone can take part.

A biologist who would turn down a chance to publish in Cell is either a) drowning in too much grant money, b) not actively trying to get/keep a job (maybe already tenured), or c) a true idealist.

For a postdoctoral biomedical researcher, a first author Cell paper is a guaranteed faculty job (barring some (but not all) horrible personal flaws).

Who gets a guaranteed slot in Cell prior to actually submitting it? Submitting takes effort, and it's not a sure thing. There are other journals without the Elsevier baggage that are as high profile (Science, Nature Publishing Group) or nearly so (PNAS). It's not as though by "turning down Cell" you are sending your paper to the dustbin.

My sense is that a Cell paper is seen as more prestigious than Science or Nature, most likely due to the fact that Cell papers typically have more data in the body (non-supplemental). PNAS is not quite the same in terms of perception, due to its weird submission policies, and even weirder past submission policies.

I do see your point re:submission effort, but in the science circles my own work is relevant to, Cell is seen as the top journal, even above Science and Nature (although they certainly carry the "automatic job" name card as well).

Does that mean Tyler got tenure at the age of 24?! Wow; that's impressive!

What age did he finish his PhD at? Isn't there the routine 4-5 year tenure track at GMu?

25 actually, I think, at UC Irvine, my first estimate counted incorrectly.

"I don't do math, beyotch"

The guy is no doubt a prodigy type, by 19 he had two publications in reputed journals etc.

A lot of my friends' doctoral theses were technically illegal because of Elselvier's strangling copyright policy. I told younger students not to publish there for that reason alone. For the most part, though, younger researchers are pressured to publish where the senior collaborating researcher wants to publish. For this reason I think it's important for the senior researchers to understand all of the dimensions to this.

Has Elsevier ever sued anyone successfully for their doctoral thesis? If not, I feel that danger is a bit over the top.

They haven't, until they have. I'm not a big fan of the idea that it's ok to make everything illegal, and trust the police (or in this case the copyright owners) to only go after the "real" bad guys.

Lawyers put a lot of cruft in contracts just because they can. The fact that it is there does not mean it is enforceable in a court of law.

I sometimes wish judges would start censoring plaintiffs for egregious contract clauses; would solve a lot of contract bloat I imagine.

Copyright law is scary. Instead of real damages, the journals are entitled to statutory damages with a high minimum:"in a sum of not less than $750 or more than $30,000 as the court considers just." http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap5.html#503 . The judge can't reduce it, tho I am sure he would like to.
Also, you aren't trusting the police not to go after you,b ut the journal. This is the ONLY example I know of where a private party is allowed to bring a suit that inflicts a punishment for an action admitted to have zero actual damage, and to collect that punishment as a private fine. There is neither prosecutorial discretion nor limitation of damages to cases where there is actual harm. In fact, even if you can prove your violation benefitted the journal (got them a subscription, say), you must pay them the $750+.

Eric, re the effectiveness of statutory damages collected by the infringed versus civil penalties collected by the government:

Which would deter you more from illegally copying a movie:

A statement at the beginning that it is a crime punishable by a $500k fine.

Or

A statement that the movie producer can sue you for a statutory minimum of $50k plus actual damages with attorney fees assessed against the losing party

>>> In the past my career has benefited from publishing in Elsevier journals. They have provided useful outlets for some of my pieces and for some of the pieces of my friends and colleagues. Although I would prefer to move to a new and more open publishing model, I do count this past relationship for something.<<<

Funnily that reminded me of the Stockholm Syndrome.

Stockholm Syndrom is the identification with the aggressor that persists after the party is removed from the active power of the aggressor. Anyone in the modern academy is still under their power.

Their point #2 seems like the anti-bundling argument used against cable companies, with the same logical flaw:

"They sell journals in very large 'bundles,' so libraries must buy a large set with many unwanted journals, or none at all. Elsevier thus makes huge profits by exploiting their essential titles, at the expense of other journals."

In an un-bundled environment, why would the smaller journals exist at all? Just like the DIY channel is helped by being bundled with TLC (because few people would pay for DIY ala carte), who would pay for Cilia Quarterly unless it's bundled with Cell?

The question is whether preservation of the Cilia Quarterly ought to be an important goal for the universities.

Bundling transfers the consumer-surplus to the seller; whether the buyers are always better off is debatable.

Fair enough. But that just points to the confusion of buyers and sellers in this case. Authors (along with Elsevier) are the sellers, libraries and researchers are the buyers. That there is overlap between these two groups confuses things, but I think my original point stands: less bundling would likely lead to fewer journals, not lower prices. And fewer journals concentrates rather than diminishes Elsevier's power.

Is there a chance that less bundling also means more sellers in the market? Publishing houses are pretty close to an oligopoly.

The bundling issue also applied to music album sales but this seems to no longer be an issue due to the current model of selling (or just playing in the case of Spotify) singles online.

Ironic that a Librtarian website would be supporting a commercial boycott.

Assuming, for argument's sake, that Tyler is supporting the boycott (I don't see that in his post), what do you find ironic about that?

Ironic that a commenter on a libertarian website doesn't understand libertarianism *at all*.

No, I think that's just ignorance. It may be willful ignorance, but that's still not irony.

Why attribute malice where mere stupidity might suffice?

If you believe in markets, you do not support boycotts.

Markets function by consumers' decisions to buy or not buy. A boycott is simply a decision to not buy, concerted among a number of people. Did people who stopped buying typewriters (for entirely different reasons), not believe in markets? Your comment makes no sense, Bill, at all.

Individual consumers in a market atomistically deciding to buy, not agreements among consumers not to buy.

Are Libertarians are just hypocrits.

Huh?

Stop digging Bill.

Or, see my comment at the bottom.

I don't understand. The government didn't just pass a law shutting down Elsevier, did it?

I can see this audience is unaware of the antitrust laws and the laws relating to commercial boycotts. Sad.

Enlighten us, Bill

There is this guy named Adam Smith who had something to say about it.

I don't know how things work in economics, but in math my experience is that even having access to all journals can only help so much. Most serious ideas come from big guys who develop subjects (Deligne, Langlands, Connes,...), and there is too much of the knowledge that is not published anywhere, but is merely "folk lore" within the community. If you don't know the folk lore, chances are you are going to spend much time re-inventing the wheel etc. It is also relatively easy in math to publish a proof and hide the intuition behind it. I hear that these days there are groups of Chinese who circulate ideas within their clique. Obviously contacts with the right people etc. matter most.

So if knowledge should be really accessible to people, big shots should be "forced" to write up their folk lores, intuition etc. Who will bell the cat?

As a former editor of an Elsevier journal, let me note some points affecting both sides of this, along with the fact that there has been a movement to boycott Elsevier going on for nearly a decade in economics with little to show for it (maybe this math-led one will have more impact). Out of thousands of people I asked to referee papers, only a handful refused to do so on the grounds that they were going along with the boycott of Elsevier generally.

I am not going to get into details, but I do not agree with all of Elsevier's policies. Much of what has people annoyed is the market power that Elsevier has due to its great size. But this is a case where this great size in fact reflects some good decisions made in the past, not all just bundling, and being aggressive about copyrights, and taking over other publishers (see the former Academic Press), etc.

In particular in economics, at a time when the number of economics journals was quite small and were mostly general journals controlled by societies (some think this is the way it should be again, I grant), Elsevier (then known as North-Holland) pioneered the introduction of specialized field journals into economics, with quite a few of these becoming leading journals that are much respected, the importance of their positions being why people like Roy are reluctant to join the boycott, even if their gut reaction is to dislike Elsevier and some its actions. A few examples include Journal of Monetary Economics, Journal of Financial Economics, Journal of Public Finance, Journal of Econometrics, Journal of Development Economics, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Journal of Labor Economics, and others.

More generally, whether we like it or not, even as various open-source outlets such as arXiv spread, the ongoing role of standard journals remains a vetting/signaliing one for academic institutions for such matters as hiring, tenure, promotion, and merit pay increases. There is a refereeing process involved that supposes ensures some sort of quality that a completely open outlet source does not, and whether one likes it or not, vetting and judging of publications is something that will continue.

Now, some may suggest that the alternative is to look at citations to publications in the open source environment. Fine. The problem is that citations take time to appear. They are indeed what is used for higher level judgments such as Swedish Bank Prizes (in honor of one A. Nobel), JBC awards, chaired professorhsips, and at many places promotion to full professor. But for lower level decisions, particularly that all-important one of tenure, citations may not occur rapidly enough to offer much of a signal in a world where there are not regular refereed journals that are ranked against each other. Tenure committees (and hiring ones also) will continue to fall back on looking at where candidates have published rather than how many citations they have.

I think bundling and prior acquisitions are significant issue, but cannot justify a boycott. Otherwise I would agree with your comments.

As to the boycott, all it does is make space for other authors to gain access to Elsivier publications. I note that there were no antitrust or Industrial Org economist who signed on, which tells you something if you know antitrust law.

I am sure we will be moving to more electronic journals in the future which could make Elsivier an uncomfortable middleman that would be supplanted by e journals with strong editors who could both guarantee quality and help the author improve his or her piece for publication. Elsivier is in the electronic disintermediation crosshairs.

It's a bit funny for me to see economists, of all people, not seeing the counter strategies to defeat Elsivier bundling strategies, other than to promote entry. This would be a worthy discussion in itself.

But, it is equally as interesting to note that the economists have not proposed something that could even supplant the reputation effect of being selected by an Elsivier journal--that being, PRIZES and Awards.

I nominate my comment for a prize.

Bill,

I do not think the electronic publishing is that much of an issue. For all practical purposes most standard "non-electronic" journals are now virtually electronic, with the vast majority of ways they are accessed and read being electronically. Their hard cover editions are increasingly becoming an extra that may well disappear soon.

Also, while some of the e-journals are open and free and all that, not all of them are. There is nothing inherent in an e-journal that does not make it possible for it to become another money maker like some of the Elsevier journals.

No, but I think the barriers to entry are lower as are the transaction costs for getting paid by a library or changing a end user for access or additional features.

One of my clients is a small niche publisher known for a certain genre. It is facing electronic competition as it goes electronic and amazon becomes a potential outlet for authors.

I didn't say an electronic journal couldnT enter or make money. Just the opposite.

The problem for a competitor who bundles And has a library of Past articles which must be accessed is different than competition for new articles. Libraries are not just acquiring a collection for future articles, but for past ones as well.

My last point--that librariries are acquiring rights for past articles, and not just future ones--is all the more true as librariries dis acquire old copies or acquired only electronic rights in the past and don't even have a hard copy.

Barkley,

Economists don't have a better method for this kind of stuff than the other departments?

Judging an article by the company it keeps has been a useful proxy, but it also has many failings. For example, neuroscientist Bjorn Brembs found that the impact factor predicts the chance a paper will be retracted more strongly than the number of citations it will receive[1]. We can do better with modern technology. For example, Mendeley, the company I work for, can show you how many readers a paper has on a daily basis. We're studying whether this is an early indicator of how many citations a paper will eventually receive and early indications are promising. Even the number of tweets a paper gets is a better predictor of citations than the impact factor[2], so there's quite a bit more than can be done now besides just looking at where a paper was published (though that remains useful in many cases.)

For more on this, see http://altmetrics.org

1. http://bjoern.brembs.net/comment-n764.html
2. http://www.jmir.org/2011/4/e123/

I consider boycotts to be childish and mostly ineffective, but some of your rationales don't stand up to reason.

If you think your boycott will affect the ability of your students to get published in Elsevier, then you are assuming that Elsevier journals publish papers based on factors unrelated to academic merit. If that's the case, then none of the Elsevier journals are ethically sound, and you should dissociated from them, not boycott. Same effect, but an entirely different reason.

The fact that you have benefitted in the past is irrelevant. Elsevier acquired some of these journals. Did you publish in them before or after acquisition?

If you have had pleasant meals at a restaurant many years ago, would you continue to go there if you didn't like the new owners, food quality has declined, and they have business practices you find objectionable? These are not the journals that were good to you in the past.

The fact that you may never use their services again yourself doesn't change the fact that they are doing something you consider unethical or damaging to the profession. Your duty and THEIR duty is to the research profession.

The marginal cost of a boycott is near zero. This one doesn't need to make your top 3 to decide to dissociate from them.

Elsevier is being targeted because they are the biggest donor to Carolyn Maloney, the Congresswoman who introduced the legislation [1]. There's nothing unfair about it. (Elsevier s richly deserving of being a target for other reasons relating to their business practices, but that's all a matter of record on Wikipedia) [2].

I get that many feel beholden to them for prior publication or current involvement. It's right to feel that way & but I want to encourage people to think about right now and the future.

Right now, Elsevier is sponsoring legislation[3] that will harm science by ending Pubmed Central, which serves 500000 pageviews a day on a budget of several million[4]. It's a great example of government working like it's supposed to & promoting the common good. Elsevier is trying to kill this & you can be against that specific issue without being against everything they do.

In the future, you will want to submit or encourage students to submit their work to the outlet that best advances their career. In many cases, that would be an Elsevier-owned journal right now. Things are changing, though, and more universities and grant funders are starting to focus on getting the most out of the money they spend on research, which means getting that research as widely disseminated as possible[5]. Wide dissemination and ever increasing journal subscription prices are incompatible. Papers in Open Access journals get cited more[6]. There is a good argument to be made that choosing an Open Access outlet for publications, and particularly suggesting that outlet to students, is the right decision because it gets their work read more widely, it will be looked upon favorably by funders, as well as being the right thing to do for moral reasons.

There are alternatives - see PLoS ONE for science or Arxiv for math and physics[6-7]. Arxiv's budget is a couple million a year[8]. Publishers do add value to a paper, but to suggest that what value they add is worth the difference in cost between Arxiv and Elsevier is just craziness, even allowing for some profit.

So there's this silly detente between scientists (I HAVE to publish in these journals), librarians (they MAKE me subscribe to these journals) and the big for-profit publishers (we're going to wait until academics get tired of debating each other then resume raking in the money.)

Someone has to be the one to make the first move. If every scientist, including the ones on tenure and grant review boards, just decided to quit today, the problem would be solved. We need a community effort, led by a principled and respected person in the field, to move towards new and more sustainable practices. To encourage tenure review and grant review boards to look favorably on open access publication records and to set the standard themselves. This is necessary for the future health of the field, because journal subscription process can't keep rising so much faster than inflation forever[9]. Something has to give, and I'd rather we figured out a solution, as a community, before it gets any worse.

So I support the boycott not because I think Elsevier is evil and should be ashamed of making a profit, but specifically because of the Research Works Act legislation that they're behind. Money talks in the US Government, particularly today with the Citizens United ruling, so the only way I can try to make my voice as loud as that of the company that has a huge lobbying budget is by joining this boycott. All senior scientists & tenured faculty can join this boycott, despite how they feel about Elsevier otherwise.

... turns out I can't include all the reference links I'd like, because my comment will be flagged as spam, however, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Research_Works_Act and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serials_crisis for much of the background and you can also find the information in the statements that Elias Zerhouni has given before Congress and other places.

This is a bill sponsored by rep. Darrel Issa, so send your letters to him, as the Chairman.

Yes, the same Darrell Issa that campaigned against SOPA. It's weird. I've gotten no response from him so far. Maloney is now listed just as the co-sponsor.

Why doesn't anyone point to Elsevier's excessive profit margin as evidence of lock-in that damages academia? Every dollar given to Elsevier is a dollar not spent on research, students or faculty. Elsevier's 36% margins from scientific publishing (in 2010) are not found in competitive industries. Let alone sustaining such profitability over a period of 15 years. That's why Tyler should boycott Elsevier.

It's not spent on academia, and it's not even spent in the US. Elsevier is Dutch! So if Tyler really cared about a future for his students, he'd care about the sustainability of the academic enterprise, and that's what's being harmed by this huge siphoning away of money from academia. I recently asked Elsevier's "Director of Access" Alicia Wise what sort of innovation they could claim, and all she could point me to was their "Article of the Future", which is a three year old prototype that was roundly criticized for being reminiscent of 2001-era websites. So much for innovation.
http://neurodojo.blogspot.com/2010/01/journal-article-of-future.html
http://onlinejournalismblog.com/2009/07/27/elseviers-article-of-the-future-resembles-websites-of-the-past/
http://ptsefton.com/2009/08/20/article-of-the-future-lets-talk-about-scholarly-communications.htm
http://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2009/07/21/the-article-of-the-future-lipstick-on-a-pig/

Read his post again. He is explaining why you can't fix a system from within, and of course you can't fix a system from without (only break it beyond recognition).

The point is it's difficult. Find the key. It might be a segment such as new professors. It might be marginal such as just citing open-access journals. It's probably not the church of peer-review.

No one's suggesting an attack on peer review as an institution. The point is that the system has to change. It will either change when the serials crisis finally comes to a head[1] or when some sort of consensus emerges among academics about what is to be done. I would hope that a group of supposedly intelligent people would be able to see the oncoming iceberg and turn the ship in time. It is possible to make a course correction now, I'm sure of it. Everyone needs to look around themselves and see what they can do to contribute. If you can't stop reviewing or submitting to an Elsevier journal, maybe you can convince the editorial board to switch publishers. They could go to Open Journal Systems or simply get an install of Annotum up and running. If that's not an option, maybe something as simple as highlighting your Open Access papers on your CV or including things like the number of bookmarks or readers your papers have, include datasets that you have released under an open license and code you've released as open source. You can submit all these objects to http://f1000research.com/ and then they're as citeable as any paper.

Everyone can do something, and we need everyone doing their part. The only option that's not sustainable is to do nothing.

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serials_crisis
2. http://annotum.org/
3. http://pkp.sfu.ca/ojs/

The blurb on Amazon for Tyler's new book is hilariously anti-Tyler.

Isn't TC just restating that the establishment 'works' for the establishment players, including those of the establishment infrastructure? It's a known issue. Tthe government is included in "The Establishment" as...ahem...some commenters and the 99% are currently in convulsions trying to deny.

As I see tweaks like this and tinkering around with tenure to be dumb, my challenge is not falling into full-blown revolutionary Marxism. I guess the key difference between me and Marx would be that I see government as destined to support the establishment and never a tool for real revolution.

Markets people, markets.

Andrew,

And where did Marx ever state that "the government" was "a tool for real revolution"? Not anywhere in his works that I am aware of.

Comments for this post are closed