How Academia and Publishing are Destroying Scientific Innovation

"I think there was a time, and I’m trying to trace the history when the rights to publish, the copyright, was owned jointly by the authors and the journal. Somehow that’s why the journals insist they will not publish your paper unless you sign that copyright over. It is never stated in the invitation, but that’s what you sell in order to publish. And everybody works for these journals for nothing. There’s no compensation. There’s nothing. They get everything free. They just have to employ a lot of failed scientists, editors who are just like the people at Homeland Security, little power grabbers in their own sphere.

If you send a PDF of your own paper to a friend, then you are committing an infringement."


'On board is the Wellcome Trust, one of the world’s largest funders of science, who announced last year that they would soon require that researchers ensure that their publications are freely available to the public within six months of publication'

Pretty sure this has been the case since 2007, along with the UK Research Councils.

Depending on the scientists contracts the work done can often actually be owned/shared by the funder/employer, not the scientist, just as in any business where you make a product. Some bioscience work done decades ago is still making money for some research councils as companies like GSK are using their old research to discover new drugs.

Every scientist should try looking at the terms and conditions of their publishing when submitting papers for publication, as well as their access to Library subscriptions to online journals. Just because you have a paper in a form that is transferable doesn't mean you have the right to do what you like with it. The final version does not just contain their work, but the editing, the style etc that the publishers 'add' to it. I'm sure most people who look at academic papers knows what I mean, you know a Nature paper from a Cell Press paper, you know a Frontiers paper from a PNAS paper.
If they are selling (massively overpriced) articles for $50+ for 24 hours access why do you think it is ok to give it away for free? If you want to give it for free then you have to publish with a journal that allows open access. NIH funded scientists in the US have to make all their work published that way after all. It's not difficult to do so these days.
And in most cases if you want to give away a pdf even without OA then just convert your post-press deposit into your own pdf file. It won't be the absolute final edition with the shiny style but the content is practically the same. Or is that too much hard work for a scientist?

Paying for OA does have the good point that it pays for the copyright to be kept, that it is not freely given away to the Publisher, but that it must be made publicly available, either immediately or at least within 6 months under a fair copyright licence.

The massive 'cost' of peer review is very well mentioned though. It is something that should be properly compensated for, if it wasn't for peer review then there would be no proper control over the work published. Of course that is needed but why has it always been expected to do it for free? Bit much to think the editors are all failed scientists when you actually look at who the editors actually are. Often employed scientists who are getting virtually no recompense for doing the work. Just as others doing peer review get nothing.

Of course big publishers need a kick into the modern age but thinking that a few groups not publishing with Elsevier or whoever is going to bring them down is forgetting that the whole world publishes with them. If UK scientists don't publish with them then there are plenty of other scientists who will fill the gap. Everyone needs to stop going along with the overpriced system we have today to make a difference. Or produce their own alternatives. Some pure OA journals are doing that pretty well. Definition of quality comes with use. Have a higher use for Frontiers or any other new publisher type and you negate the benefits of the big named publishers.

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