Discussion in 'Research methodology news and research' started by CRG, Apr 17, 2023.
I am hoping this will snowball. I have sent my most recent paper to a free of charge open access online journal with open peer review. There is no need for anyone to charge for publication these days. The journal companies are simply con artists.
I get that. Most providers of knowledge content pay the people who produce content (e.g. journalists) and those who improve it and check it (editors and content checkers). Scientists producing papers shouldn't have to pay to get their results out into the world, and possibly should actually be paid.
But, if a journal is open-access (and I think that's important too, especially in the field of medicine where you have a whole lot of patients interested in what is being written but who may not be associated with organisations with subscriptions), how should a journal make a profit?
'A journal' is an abstraction attached to some people.
So the question is how should some people make a profit.
But if they are the same people as those served by the process - as traditionally has been the case for scientific societies - then there is no issue of profit.
The 'journal' I have recently submitted to is just a group of academics wanting to make work available in the best format, with an option for debate and constructive criticism.
Back in the 1970s editors of medical journals were mostly unpaid academics. Somebody had to pay for the paper and ink but that was mostly the libraries of the universities employing the academics. The whole process got corrupted in the 1990s.
"The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) is the world’s ﬁrst health research funder to publish comprehensive accounts of its funded research within its own publicly and permanently available journals. "
Would you say it was Robert Maxwell who started the corruption? I read this, (or something similar) a while ago, and decided it was...https://www.theguardian.com/science...usiness-scientific-publishing-bad-for-science
This should be the model for all publicly funded health research. And arguably privately funded health research too. If they are the only one, then it doesn't change a corrupt system.
There are few things I loathe more in this world than for-profit science journals.
If I was king for a day they would be among the first up against the metaphorical wall.
Is corrupt the right word, though? Parasitic, certainly. Unfair, in that patients and the public at large are paywalled out of research which impacts them. But I’m not sure that it’s corrupt: the evil genius of the current model is that it delivers a fair degree of probity at an eye-watering cost.
Would we get the same degree of probity from research funders? Even from public ones like NIHR? There’s still pressure to demonstrate that previous funding decisions were justified, which means that funder-journals would be vulnerable to publication bias.
I think that a better answer would be to establish separate but collaborative quangos in the US, EU and UK, to take on responsibility for free-to-air publishing, and for appointment of the editorial boards which would in turn select the editors for each online journal. These quangos could also maintain transparent records of peer review activity which academics could use to justify promotions and appointments.
Cunning mandarins would probably want to staff these quangos by poaching the esteemed editors from Cell, Nature etc, just to accelerate disruption and to disadvantage the rentiers.
So an academic seeking to publish their findings would have the following options: quango-funded, transparently peer reviewed journal of prestige; the second-tier journal in that quango’s stable; the top and second tier journals from quango-funders in other jurisdictions; the default publication offered by research funders; chucking the paper onto an open/preprint server; and then lastly, supporting the legacy parasites.
Beware the quango. I think Cochrane could be described as a sort of quango and look where that has got us.
Maybe better for people to simply post their research papers on their university website if they are student researchers, and on open preprint sites with open peer reviews published alongside each paper if post student level. The site could be organised by subject area and qualifications/specialisms of researchers, and some sort of open peer review assessment used to let the cream rise to the top and the dross to sink to the bottom.
I'd also like some separation between solid research done by serious scientists, and speculative hypotheses by clueless people, but that would I think happen anyway as open peer review should help sort it out.
There would be the problem of the BPS people ganging up to praise and upvote each others nonsense, but that happens covertly now anyway. Open peer reviews with names and employer's names would bring this into the open.
Yes of course it is corrupt.
And what probity are we talking about. The system allows complete garbage and fraud through and tends to block anything original.
Quangos with appointed editors is the same corruption. Jobs for the boys and girls.
The solution is much easier - it is one access publication for everything, with open access, attributed peer review comment. If readers are not able to judge quality themselves they can read the arguments of the commenters. It works fine.
I am in favour of individual universities setting up site where work done on their premises can be written up. Universities have a longterm view interest in the quality of what gets put up. Funding bodies are more likely to be swayed by links to bureaucracy and vested interests. I am not impressed by the idea of NIHR being the publisher to be honest. It is a purely political organisation designed to produce politically convenient research that would not pass muster with MRC.
Hmm. Most significant papers have authors from multiple universities, weakening the argument from brand protection, as it should be trivial to find at least one institution that will publish.
Readers judging quality on the basis of the comments (and Trish’s “cream rising to the top”) sounds like TripAdvisor: easily gamed by proxies, bots and mischief-makers.
You can’t wish away the need for human editors, even if you don’t like some of the decisions that some editors have made in the past. And while it may be evidenceable that some editors may be corrupt, it’s a very large claim that corruption is systemic. I doubt it’s a supportable one.
I was thinking of any voting/numerical assessment of the importance of a piece of research being done only by those who post a peer review in which they name their employer/affiliations. So everyone can see openly where/who the scores come from.
Industry funding and sponsorship of academia is murky and subtle. So are log rolling and cliques. Stating one’s primary employer leaves an awful lot unsaid.
It would definitely be helpful to allow open comment and attributable voting, I’m just saying that human editorial judgement has an enduring, valuable role. And it is always going to be the factor which establishes prestige.
Any mechanism which kneecaps rent-seeking publishers will have to compete on prestige. Prestige vests in people. And yes, that will likely look like “jobs for the boys and girls”. What system of appointment doesn’t, ultimately?
Elsevier journals -- Access for healthcare and patients
Patients and caregivers can make requests for individual papers related to medicine and healthcare at no cost. These papers can be requested by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We aim to provide the requested articles within 24 hours. Please include the article title and author(s), date published, and/or the URL if available. This will ensure that our team can locate the requested content as quickly as possible. In addition, patients and caregivers who participate in the publication of an article and have a preference or need to publish that article open access, but lack the funds for the Article Publishing Charge, can make a request for a waiver of the APC by emailing email@example.com . Please include the article title; author(s); and the journal title you have submitted the article to.
Feeling the heat about their naked profiteering?
Requested the full text of this paper yesterday and got it today.
Another Elsevier journal that I think still has many paywalled full texts (often with "section snippets") on ME/CFS is the Journal of Psychosomatic Research .
Separate names with a comma.